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BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009

Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 09 - 12:17 AM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 12:25 AM
katlaughing 07 Feb 09 - 01:03 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 09 - 01:29 AM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 02:14 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 07 Feb 09 - 05:31 AM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 06:58 AM
goatfell 07 Feb 09 - 07:52 AM
artbrooks 07 Feb 09 - 09:25 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 09 - 10:12 AM
SINSULL 07 Feb 09 - 10:25 AM
Janie 07 Feb 09 - 02:26 PM
goatfell 07 Feb 09 - 02:59 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 05:17 PM
JennieG 07 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM
freda underhill 07 Feb 09 - 05:20 PM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 09 - 06:08 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 06:14 PM
nager 07 Feb 09 - 06:23 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 07:16 PM
JennieG 07 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM
Ebbie 07 Feb 09 - 08:41 PM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 09 - 08:47 PM
Art Thieme 07 Feb 09 - 09:38 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 10:07 PM
Joybell 07 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM
JennieG 08 Feb 09 - 01:39 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 08 Feb 09 - 04:32 AM
freda underhill 08 Feb 09 - 06:14 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Feb 09 - 07:26 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 08 Feb 09 - 08:00 AM
Maryrrf 08 Feb 09 - 08:10 AM
Nessie 08 Feb 09 - 08:47 AM
jacqui.c 08 Feb 09 - 09:09 AM
ClaireBear 08 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM
goatfell 08 Feb 09 - 01:14 PM
SINSULL 08 Feb 09 - 02:00 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 04:08 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 04:47 PM
Janie 08 Feb 09 - 04:49 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 05:04 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM
VirginiaTam 08 Feb 09 - 05:11 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 05:28 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 05:29 PM
pdq 08 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 06:32 PM
Bat Goddess 08 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 07:04 PM
pdq 08 Feb 09 - 07:08 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 07:33 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 08:03 PM
pdq 08 Feb 09 - 08:07 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 08:33 PM
Leadfingers 08 Feb 09 - 09:18 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 09:24 PM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Feb 09 - 09:28 PM
Janie 08 Feb 09 - 09:50 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM
quokka 08 Feb 09 - 09:55 PM
Peace 08 Feb 09 - 09:56 PM
Joybell 08 Feb 09 - 10:41 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 09 - 10:42 PM
Joybell 09 Feb 09 - 01:10 AM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Feb 09 - 01:22 AM
JennieG 09 Feb 09 - 01:23 AM
Joybell 09 Feb 09 - 01:42 AM
freda underhill 09 Feb 09 - 03:42 AM
freda underhill 09 Feb 09 - 07:01 AM
SINSULL 09 Feb 09 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,heric 09 Feb 09 - 08:38 AM
Rapparee 09 Feb 09 - 08:58 AM
katlaughing 09 Feb 09 - 03:11 PM
Joybell 09 Feb 09 - 03:11 PM
SINSULL 09 Feb 09 - 03:40 PM
Joybell 09 Feb 09 - 03:41 PM
Rowan 09 Feb 09 - 04:05 PM
Rowan 09 Feb 09 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,new zealand/jordan klenner 09 Feb 09 - 04:43 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 09 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM
Joybell 09 Feb 09 - 04:54 PM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Feb 09 - 06:11 PM
quokka 09 Feb 09 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,heric 09 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM
John O'L 09 Feb 09 - 07:30 PM
katlaughing 09 Feb 09 - 07:48 PM
Rowan 09 Feb 09 - 09:58 PM
katlaughing 09 Feb 09 - 10:46 PM
nager 10 Feb 09 - 12:51 AM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 01:04 AM
Rowan 10 Feb 09 - 01:05 AM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 01:38 AM
Sandra in Sydney 10 Feb 09 - 03:52 AM
Riginslinger 10 Feb 09 - 08:07 AM
SINSULL 10 Feb 09 - 08:23 AM
Sandra in Sydney 10 Feb 09 - 08:30 AM
Ebbie 10 Feb 09 - 10:57 AM
katlaughing 10 Feb 09 - 11:13 AM
SINSULL 10 Feb 09 - 04:03 PM
Rowan 10 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 04:26 PM
Rowan 10 Feb 09 - 04:41 PM
heric 10 Feb 09 - 04:44 PM
Art Thieme 10 Feb 09 - 05:01 PM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 05:27 PM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 05:30 PM
Andrez 10 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 06:03 PM
SINSULL 10 Feb 09 - 09:52 PM
Rowan 10 Feb 09 - 11:09 PM
Joybell 10 Feb 09 - 11:21 PM
Rowan 10 Feb 09 - 11:44 PM
Joybell 11 Feb 09 - 12:14 AM
katlaughing 11 Feb 09 - 12:15 AM
Andrez 11 Feb 09 - 12:37 AM
Rowan 11 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM
katlaughing 11 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM
Janie 11 Feb 09 - 01:12 AM
JennieG 11 Feb 09 - 01:14 AM
Rowan 11 Feb 09 - 01:20 AM
John O'L 11 Feb 09 - 03:04 AM
freda underhill 11 Feb 09 - 03:23 AM
Joybell 11 Feb 09 - 03:59 AM
Joybell 11 Feb 09 - 04:53 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Feb 09 - 07:52 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Feb 09 - 08:22 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Feb 09 - 08:29 AM
Riginslinger 11 Feb 09 - 08:32 AM
Rowan 11 Feb 09 - 04:15 PM
John O'L 11 Feb 09 - 04:16 PM
Joybell 11 Feb 09 - 04:21 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM
Tangledwood 11 Feb 09 - 04:49 PM
Riginslinger 11 Feb 09 - 05:06 PM
Rowan 11 Feb 09 - 05:25 PM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Feb 09 - 06:16 PM
JennieG 11 Feb 09 - 08:19 PM
Joybell 11 Feb 09 - 08:55 PM
Jack Campin 11 Feb 09 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,A Regular 11 Feb 09 - 09:12 PM
artbrooks 11 Feb 09 - 09:18 PM
Rowan 11 Feb 09 - 09:52 PM
katlaughing 11 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,heric 11 Feb 09 - 10:58 PM
Joybell 12 Feb 09 - 04:24 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Feb 09 - 06:43 AM
Andrez 12 Feb 09 - 04:12 PM
Joybell 12 Feb 09 - 04:31 PM
Rowan 12 Feb 09 - 04:48 PM
Andrez 12 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM
heric 12 Feb 09 - 08:09 PM
rich-joy 12 Feb 09 - 08:20 PM
Joybell 12 Feb 09 - 09:20 PM
John O'L 13 Feb 09 - 03:08 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 13 Feb 09 - 04:54 AM
Riginslinger 13 Feb 09 - 11:16 AM
Ebbie 13 Feb 09 - 01:15 PM
katlaughing 13 Feb 09 - 04:47 PM
Joybell 13 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Feb 09 - 07:54 PM
Rowan 13 Feb 09 - 11:05 PM
Andrez 14 Feb 09 - 12:11 AM
Andrez 14 Feb 09 - 12:15 AM
katlaughing 14 Feb 09 - 12:37 AM
freda underhill 14 Feb 09 - 05:45 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 14 Feb 09 - 06:23 AM
freda underhill 14 Feb 09 - 04:39 PM
Joybell 14 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM
Rowan 14 Feb 09 - 11:15 PM
Joybell 14 Feb 09 - 11:53 PM
Ebbie 15 Feb 09 - 02:56 PM
Joybell 15 Feb 09 - 05:25 PM
Rowan 16 Feb 09 - 04:39 PM
open mike 16 Feb 09 - 05:43 PM
Joybell 16 Feb 09 - 06:36 PM
John O'L 16 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM
Sandra in Sydney 16 Feb 09 - 07:07 PM
rich-joy 16 Feb 09 - 08:18 PM
rich-joy 16 Feb 09 - 08:22 PM
Rowan 16 Feb 09 - 09:36 PM
rich-joy 16 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM
katlaughing 16 Feb 09 - 10:34 PM
rich-joy 16 Feb 09 - 11:44 PM
KEVINOAF 17 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM
Sandra in Sydney 17 Feb 09 - 04:16 AM
Tangledwood 17 Feb 09 - 05:00 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 17 Feb 09 - 05:38 AM
CarolC 17 Feb 09 - 04:08 PM
Rowan 17 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM
Joybell 17 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM
Andrez 17 Feb 09 - 05:41 PM
Joybell 17 Feb 09 - 06:05 PM
Tangledwood 17 Feb 09 - 06:13 PM
katlaughing 17 Feb 09 - 06:38 PM
CarolC 17 Feb 09 - 06:41 PM
Joybell 17 Feb 09 - 06:57 PM
katlaughing 17 Feb 09 - 07:29 PM
Joybell 17 Feb 09 - 07:47 PM
Rowan 19 Feb 09 - 04:34 PM
Andrez 19 Feb 09 - 05:31 PM
Janie 19 Feb 09 - 07:52 PM
Rowan 19 Feb 09 - 09:45 PM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Feb 09 - 01:51 AM
Joybell 20 Feb 09 - 06:51 AM
katlaughing 22 Feb 09 - 12:59 AM
Sandra in Sydney 22 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM
Joybell 22 Feb 09 - 07:16 PM
Sandra in Sydney 22 Feb 09 - 11:25 PM
Andrez 23 Feb 09 - 12:46 AM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Feb 09 - 02:40 AM
Joybell 23 Feb 09 - 03:01 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 23 Feb 09 - 05:23 AM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Feb 09 - 06:05 AM
SINSULL 23 Feb 09 - 11:13 AM
Joybell 23 Feb 09 - 03:51 PM
Joybell 23 Feb 09 - 03:53 PM
Andrez 23 Feb 09 - 04:09 PM
Andrez 23 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Feb 09 - 05:43 PM
Joybell 23 Feb 09 - 11:57 PM
Bill S from Adelaide 24 Feb 09 - 03:17 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Feb 09 - 03:29 AM
Sandra in Sydney 24 Feb 09 - 04:40 AM
Joybell 24 Feb 09 - 05:19 AM
Andrez 24 Feb 09 - 04:05 PM
Sandra in Sydney 24 Feb 09 - 05:51 PM
Janie 24 Feb 09 - 08:58 PM
Rowan 24 Feb 09 - 10:39 PM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Feb 09 - 07:47 AM
Joybell 25 Feb 09 - 04:32 PM
Ebbie 25 Feb 09 - 06:19 PM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Feb 09 - 06:25 PM
Rowan 25 Feb 09 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,heric 25 Feb 09 - 08:41 PM
Joybell 25 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM
Riginslinger 25 Feb 09 - 10:18 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM
SINSULL 26 Feb 09 - 04:28 PM
Joybell 26 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,heric 26 Feb 09 - 05:45 PM
katlaughing 26 Feb 09 - 06:24 PM
Joybell 26 Feb 09 - 07:02 PM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Feb 09 - 09:19 PM
artbrooks 26 Feb 09 - 09:22 PM
Rowan 26 Feb 09 - 09:32 PM
Sandra in Sydney 27 Feb 09 - 01:48 AM
Sandra in Sydney 28 Feb 09 - 08:55 AM
Rowan 01 Mar 09 - 04:28 PM
Joybell 01 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,heric 01 Mar 09 - 10:57 PM
Joybell 02 Mar 09 - 01:07 AM
Ebbie 02 Mar 09 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,sandra in bendigo 02 Mar 09 - 07:23 AM
Andrez 02 Mar 09 - 02:55 PM
Tangledwood 02 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM
Joybell 02 Mar 09 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,sandra in bendigo 03 Mar 09 - 06:58 AM
Joybell 03 Mar 09 - 04:20 PM
Janie 03 Mar 09 - 09:51 PM
Janie 03 Mar 09 - 09:52 PM
Ebbie 03 Mar 09 - 11:33 PM
Donuel 04 Mar 09 - 12:00 AM
katlaughing 04 Mar 09 - 12:10 AM
Rowan 04 Mar 09 - 01:10 AM
Andrez 04 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM
Joybell 04 Mar 09 - 05:19 PM
Rowan 04 Mar 09 - 10:41 PM
katlaughing 04 Mar 09 - 11:55 PM
Joybell 05 Mar 09 - 01:16 AM
Rowan 05 Mar 09 - 07:55 PM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Mar 09 - 04:44 AM
Joybell 06 Mar 09 - 09:53 PM
Rowan 07 Mar 09 - 04:52 AM
artbrooks 07 Mar 09 - 07:31 AM
Joybell 07 Mar 09 - 05:17 PM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Mar 09 - 09:27 PM
Rowan 08 Mar 09 - 06:37 PM
Joybell 09 Mar 09 - 03:43 AM
SINSULL 09 Mar 09 - 08:41 AM
Rowan 09 Mar 09 - 05:58 PM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Mar 09 - 06:45 AM
Bill S from Adelaide 13 Mar 09 - 08:30 AM
Joybell 13 Mar 09 - 08:59 PM
Rowan 15 Mar 09 - 06:09 PM
Janie 15 Mar 09 - 06:36 PM
Joybell 15 Mar 09 - 11:28 PM
Rowan 16 Mar 09 - 12:01 AM
Sandra in Sydney 16 Mar 09 - 05:14 AM
Rowan 18 Mar 09 - 05:32 PM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Mar 09 - 06:49 PM
heric 18 Mar 09 - 07:21 PM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,heric 18 Mar 09 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,heric 18 Mar 09 - 09:45 PM
Sandra in Sydney 19 Mar 09 - 05:41 AM
Rowan 19 Mar 09 - 05:53 PM
katlaughing 19 Mar 09 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,heric 19 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM
Rowan 19 Mar 09 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,heric 19 Mar 09 - 08:26 PM
Joybell 20 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM
SINSULL 15 May 09 - 08:26 AM
Sandra in Sydney 15 May 09 - 11:37 AM
SINSULL 15 May 09 - 04:48 PM
SINSULL 15 May 09 - 04:59 PM
Sandra in Sydney 15 May 09 - 07:50 PM
SINSULL 15 May 09 - 08:20 PM
katlaughing 15 May 09 - 10:13 PM
Sandra in Sydney 16 May 09 - 03:09 AM
Sandra in Sydney 29 May 09 - 07:59 PM
Sandra in Sydney 29 May 09 - 08:11 PM
Janie 29 May 09 - 09:34 PM
Joybell 30 May 09 - 03:21 AM
Sandra in Sydney 31 May 09 - 01:32 AM
Joybell 31 May 09 - 01:37 AM
Rowan 31 May 09 - 06:57 PM
Rowan 09 Aug 09 - 06:43 PM
Sandra in Sydney 09 Aug 09 - 06:54 PM
Janie 09 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM
Andrez 10 Aug 09 - 07:52 AM
JennieG 10 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM
Sandra in Sydney 02 Sep 09 - 04:19 AM
SINSULL 23 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Sep 09 - 08:08 PM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Sep 09 - 08:19 PM
Sandra in Sydney 23 Sep 09 - 08:22 PM
Janie 23 Sep 09 - 10:45 PM
Andrez 24 Sep 09 - 05:39 AM
SINSULL 24 Sep 09 - 11:07 AM
Janie 24 Sep 09 - 12:58 PM
VirginiaTam 24 Sep 09 - 03:59 PM
VirginiaTam 24 Sep 09 - 04:00 PM
GUEST 25 Sep 09 - 01:25 AM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Sep 09 - 03:34 AM
Stringsinger 25 Sep 09 - 02:12 PM
Tangledwood 25 Sep 09 - 08:20 PM
Janie 26 Sep 09 - 12:03 AM
Janie 19 Nov 09 - 08:30 PM
Sandra in Sydney 02 Feb 10 - 03:28 AM
Rowan 02 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Feb 10 - 04:59 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Nov 19 - 03:13 AM
JennieG 12 Nov 19 - 05:15 AM
Megan L 12 Nov 19 - 09:54 AM
keberoxu 12 Nov 19 - 02:19 PM
rich-joy 13 Nov 19 - 07:50 PM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Nov 19 - 06:21 AM
Hrothgar 14 Nov 19 - 07:02 AM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Nov 19 - 05:33 PM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Nov 19 - 01:18 AM
Andrez 16 Nov 19 - 02:28 AM
JennieG 16 Nov 19 - 07:06 AM
Helen 18 Nov 19 - 09:20 PM
Sandra in Sydney 20 Nov 19 - 07:02 PM
Sandra in Sydney 21 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 Dec 19 - 09:22 AM
Helen 03 Dec 19 - 02:33 PM
Donuel 03 Dec 19 - 02:52 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Dec 19 - 01:13 AM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Dec 19 - 09:08 AM
Jim Martin 07 Dec 19 - 12:24 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Dec 19 - 04:01 AM
Jack Campin 07 Dec 19 - 12:29 PM
Bruce D 07 Dec 19 - 05:45 PM
Bruce D 07 Dec 19 - 05:55 PM
Jack Campin 07 Dec 19 - 05:58 PM
JennieG 07 Dec 19 - 11:42 PM
Andrez 08 Dec 19 - 05:35 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Dec 19 - 09:31 AM
JennieG 08 Dec 19 - 04:58 PM
Sandra in Sydney 10 Dec 19 - 07:20 AM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Dec 19 - 08:26 PM
Bruce D 12 Dec 19 - 04:49 AM
JennieG 12 Dec 19 - 05:04 AM

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Subject: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 12:17 AM

South Eastern Australia is having one of the worse heatwaves we've ever endured, with many areas, including Joybell's, having daily temperatures in the mid 40s for weeks.

Folks have died from the heat, wildlife is suffering, railtracks have buckled, and bushfires are spreading across 3 states, including into Joybell's area. Some fires have been deliberately lit,

Joybell has posted about her daily life here
BS: Frying eggs in Melbourne , as have other catters. Rowan & I have also posted links to news coverage

As the fires are spreading across 3 states, I feel they needs a thread if it's own.

I'll post more links soon.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 12:25 AM

Thanks, Sandra. Thought about a thread of it's own but couldn't spare the time. Did have time to do a copy and paste though. Here's my latest upadate:

We've just come off "High alert. Activate your fire plan NOW". It's the first time our little community has had a mention on National Radio. Our wonderful voluteer firefighters (they didn't call on True-love, he's among the oldest of them) managed to put it out before it reached us. It was as close as 10 kms. We still have power. So far we're cool.
There are three fires of concern around us but they're not so close -- yet. One is to the West -- from where the wind is blowing -- but there's a big regional town between us and that fire.

My daughter lives East of Melbourne a mountain ridge away from the big fire in the Bunyip State Forest that's moving in on the small towns around it. So far the wind's blowing that fire away from her but there's a change blowing in.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 01:03 AM

Thanks so much, Sandra, for starting this. I hadn't been following the other thread, so had no idea.

Please, all of you, stay safe. We have our share of wildfires in the Western US and I know it can be scary, time-consuming, and so destructive.

May the Great Spirit (or the deity of your choice or not:-) bring healing, cooling rains immediately and may the fires die down to nothing.

Joy, thanks for checking in.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 01:29 AM

My little bit of Sydney is cooler than most of the state as I'm near the harbour, it was 30 at 5pm, & I'm very cool in my place. The folks I was intending to visit 15 miles west reached 39 degrees, & those further west reached 41. Highest temperature in Sydney's west was 42.3 at 3.30pm.

The town near Joybell's place got to 42 around noon & had dropped to 32 at 5pm.

Wollemi National Park declared bushfire emergency

photos

Houses destroyed as south-east burns

Sydney - Blackouts, bushfires and deaths feared in scorcher

Bushfires threatening homes Central cost, to the north of Sydney, posted about 30min ago

sandra, 5.30pm, Saturday afternoon, almost time to head to freda's for a singing session.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 02:14 AM

Thanks, Kat. The Great Spirit in this area is Bunjil. Maybe He'll emerge from his cave in the mountains and help. We so need those healing rains. The wind's dropped a bit but it's switching around and about. The temperature has dropped to 35. Our little rescued Ringtail slept through the day in his hanging basket surrounded by wet blankets. How I wish I could save the thousands and thousands of other animals and birds.

In the East of the state fires are way out of control. Temperatures across the state are higher than any on record.
We're reaping the whirlwind.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:31 AM

Hi Sandra
I'm in Melbourne and watched a fire break out downhill from my house. It took 11 fire engines and 2 helicopters to control it before the wind change that would have brought it in my direction. I've been on full alert all day. The railway and highway are still closed.
Some devastating bushfires farther out are still burning. We had 46.7 today, a record for Melbourne, with gale force winds.
Ironically, I have a house guest stranded in Cairns because of the floods, he just got out of England to beat the snow.
The CFA Firies round here are all volunteers and total heroes.
Wassail
Bill S from Melbourne (use to be from Perth)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 06:58 AM

My daughter and grandchildren are leaving the Yarra Valley while they can. She's going to be OK but I can't help feeling sick with worry. Her husband is staying to protect the house. He'll be in sensible clothes and he has lots of water and mops and buckets. The house is closed up and the windows taped. They made their plans early. The fire just east of them has the potential to join up with a big fire to the north-east. We have friends in the middle of that one. And maybe join the even the bigger one to the south.   
Here it's quite still and cool. There's a beautiful moon. Hard to imagine the horrors across the state.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: goatfell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 07:52 AM

in the northern terrortyevery day the burn off scrub so that house and land wouldn't catch fire so why doesn't the rest of Australia do that


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: artbrooks
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 09:25 AM

News here this morning says 14 dead from a fire in Victoria. You people keep safe, hear?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:12 AM

Bill & Joybell - a lot has happened since I left to visit freda, scary to know you're both so close to the fires. sending hugs & good wishes to you & your families & friends.

sandra

video - Dozens of homes lost in Victorian fires

more photos have been added to photo Gallery linked to earlier

Events bushfires

Killer fires wreak havoc in Vic, NSW, SA + video report


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:25 AM

I just posted about the fire in your healing thread, Sandra. This has to be so frightening.
No candles lit this time. I will simply keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe, Sandra, Joybell, Bill et al.
OpenMike lost her home here while she was out fighting a fire. I don't know where anyone finds the courage and strength to go towards a fire. Your firefighters are in my prayers too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 02:26 PM

What Sinsull said....


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: goatfell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 02:59 PM

I have family that live in Australia I just pray that they are all right, the live in western Austrlia, New South Wales.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:12 PM

It's Victoria where the main problem is, Goatfell. I hope your friends are safe -- they most likely are this time around.

Overnight things got much worse. We're safe but the whole south-east of the state seems to be either burning or under threat.
Our friends at Marysville are probably safe, and taking refuge at the local sports ground no doubt with their instruments. Probably leading singing or off fighting fires. No info. about their homes but it looks grim.
One of my daughters and three of my grandchildren are safe. I'm so proud of her carrying out her plan and sticking to it. It must have been hard to leave her husband alone at home, but he'll be ok too. They're well prepared. Their home is in the path of one fire that may unite with two others today.
My other daughter and two children are on holiday right in the middle of a big fire. They should be safe -- there's open ground there and a lake. They'll come home to a suburb that's not likely to burn.

Goatfell -- we do burn and clear but there's a limit. We can't burn everything so it won't burn. Also burning encourages plants that REALLY burn well. Victoria was always a wet, lush place -- not like the Outback. It's a complex eco-system. No simple answers. Rain used to put out the lightning-strike fires. Now the rain-pattern has changed. Victoria has been in the grip of drought for 13 years.
We have not been kind to this ancient land, and its Wildlife.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:17 PM

Thank you SINSULL, Art, Janie. Candles floating in water might be OK.
Thank you everyone. It's so far away out here. Off to ring my daughter.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM

Sandra and I have a friend in Bendigo, Victoria - it's a large country town but many houses have been burnt. Some of the historical buildings have also been feared lost. Joy, any news of your family?

On ABC radio this morning a scientific bloke said that scientists has heard of the news of the fires with glee, I couldn't believe such a poor choice of words. He was referring to the fact that climate change sceptics would have to take scientists seriously, now they had been proven right. But glee??!!! to use such a word in the circumstances? If I could get hold of him I'd show him glee.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:20 PM

here is the latest..

February 07, 2009, Australian Associated Press

AT least 25 people have been killed in Victoria's worst bushfires since Ash Wednesday, with the death toll expected to rise.

"I can confirm that we now have 25 people dead at this point in time," Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said.
Most of the bodies were discovered in towns northeast of Melbourne - six at Kinglake, six at Kinglake West, four at Wandong and St Andrews, three at Humevale, and one each in Arthurs Creek and Bendigo.

At least six bodies were found in the one car at Kinglake, with reports that others may have been trying to escape the fire in cars.
Children are believed to be among the dead. But police have so far been unable to confirm the gender or ages of the victims.

Meanwhile, 18 people have been admitted to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital with burns and three are in a critical condition. Seven of the injured have burns to more than 30 per cent of their bodies.

...........................

I'm very glad your daughters and grandchildren are safe, Joybell.

freda


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 06:08 PM

Jennie, the Bendigo fire is at Eaglehawk, about 12 km by road from where Dot & Wayne are living, tho as Wayne's family are 5th generation locals, he probably knows folks who live in that area.

I just spoke to them & the fire is nearer than I thought, but no danger to them.

map of victoria Bill is in Melbourne (middle, near the blue shield containing number 11), Joybell is near Hamilton (left of map, inland from coast) & my friends are in Bendigo (next to green B75). I'll be in Bendigo early March, a historic gold-mining town where 50 homes have been lost.

'Absolute devastation': Victoria gutted by deadly bushfires There are also video & audio links on this page

Nearly 60 bushfires burning across NSW Big fires are to the north & west of central Sydney, about 70km from CBD which is where I live.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 06:14 PM

"Glee" is indeed an unfortunate way of putting it. I've rubbed shoulders with many scientists, I'm a self-confessed Green. Nobody I've ever met in these fields would use this term or feel this way. Terms the press use at times, however, are a different matter.

Jennie -- On a happy note -- the little town were I bought your chocolates was saved. Looked like going most of yesterday -- but they saved it.

The Bendigo fire, while still serious, looks like being controlled.

The little towns in the Mountain Ash forest and the other forests east of Melbourne are in bad shape. Kinglake and Marysville may be completely lost. Being caught in a car in a bushfire is the stuff of nightmares. So hard to stay put in your home with a bushfire bearing down on you. There was no way to give the people of Kinglake enough warning to make an early decision about whether to go or stay.
Several of the warnings about other smaller, but still potentially life-threatening fires, state bluntly that there will be no fire crews available to help.

Just rang my daughter. She's going back home. For the moment their area is safe. "Mum the fire is at least ten minutes away!" She means up-wind I know. My other daughter is in a houseboat beside an island in a lake. She sent a photo on her mobile phone that just shows thick smoke. They should be OK too. She knows to stay put.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: nager
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 06:23 PM

I am in NSW just south of Newcastle and we have a big fire south of us at historic Catherine Hill Bay. We also had an idiot light three spot fires less than 200m from our home in the bushland but fortunately the firefighters got there in time to extinguish the flames before they took hold. We are now all holding our breath. About five years ago we had massive fires here with a home just up the road destroyed. My heart goes out to those who have lost their lives in Victoria.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 07:16 PM

nagar, Stay safe.
It seems we are getting better at pin-pointing the triggers for these fires. There's much more emphasis on individual causes rather than just broad statements. Not that we should ignore overall factors. It seems that more and more these fires are being stated as being-- deliberatly lit. Words fail us when we hear that. Sad to say I'm not in the least surprised.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 08:10 PM

Good to hear that family and friends are safe. Isn't it ironic - floods in Queensland, the worst for 60 years it is said! If only we could get some of that flood water south to Victoria. I have other friends in Victoria too, at Bendigo and Newstead - Bendigo friend is OK, haven't heard from the other yet.

Joy, I'm glad to hear that Coleraine was saved, we haven't visited it yet.(Ozzie irony here) Those chocolates were yuuummmmmy.

"A sunburnt country" indeed.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 08:41 PM

I don't believe in capital punishment or wars bur reading this thread reminds me forcibly that I'm not really pacifistic: If I saw someone lighting a fire in circumstances such as these I'd be tempted to shoot him/her on the spot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 08:47 PM

best wishes Nager


Wiped out: Town destroyed by killer fires + lots of audio


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 09:38 PM

Joy and Greg,
You know we're with you. Do whatever's needed to pull through this. I can't imagine your reality now.
Be safe!
Love to you both,

Art and Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:07 PM

We're fine, Art and Carol. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Love back again.
Thank you Sandra -- for the update on Marysville.
I've walked those forests all over -- going back 50 years. I've sat at the top of the Murridindi falls. I've walked the tracks at Kinglake. I've pitched a tent in the forest at Noogee. I've shopped at the St Andrews Market. I know this country well. I've seen it burn -- but not like this.
Just now we grieve for the people and for the animals. Tomorrow, I fear, we'll also grieve for the whole forest.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:11 PM

Jennie, Newstead is away from any fires at the moment -- as we are. We have a friend there too. Central Victoria is very, very dry but there's not much to burn as a consequence.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 01:39 AM

It's dreadful - one wants to turn on the news and know the facts, but it is all so terribly sad that it is hard to watch or listen. So many people dead, and hundreds of homes and businesses and farms gone. And of course the animals, native animals (wombats!) farm animals, pets. The hot temperatures that we have been whingeing about are nothing compared to the loss of family and home.

No cheers this time
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 04:32 AM

Ironically, it is 30 degrees colder today, we had rain in the night and showers today so it is all over for us, for now. Others are not so lucky and significant and well known towns have been wiped from the map. Fires are still burning out of control. The trouble becomes worse with the change, a long thin fire suddenly turns 90 degrees, presenting a 20-30 km firefront. Our fire crossed the railway which still has timber sleepers so the railway gangs are hard at work getting ready for the weekday service. Thanks for the good wishes above.
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 06:14 AM

the news just keeps getting worse. 84 people are confirmed dead in Victoria, more fatalities than in the 1983 Ash Wednesday blazes.

The fires are still burning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 07:26 AM

Australia's worst bushfire disaster - 84 dead - surpassing the number of people who perished in the 1983 Ash Wednesday blazes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:00 AM

Oh!

I had no idea this was happening until just now, reading this thread. My thoughts and prayers, along with those of so many other people in here, are with you all. I hope that rain comes soon, and the temperatures start to go down.

May you all stay safe.

With hugs to you all
Lizzie x


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Maryrrf
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:10 AM

I've been following the headlines and saw this morning that it had gotten worse. Adding my petitions to the Great Spirit that the fires will soon be brought under control


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Nessie
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:47 AM

Sounds like hell on earth for those caught up in it, our hearts go out to them. Images of residents with garden hoses against walls of flame, the heroic volunteers, the thought of families trapped in cars, a life's work gone, all cracked me up, and I can't bear to think of the wildlife & stock...
Here's us moaning about a few inches of snow in the UK - all part of man's impact on nature though sadly, in this case often abetted by sick arsonists. Willing rain your way.
Vanessa


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: jacqui.c
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:09 AM

Please keep yourselves safe. All good thoughts coming your way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: ClaireBear
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM

Prayers for you in church this morning, and more good thoughts from me.

Claire


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: goatfell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 01:14 PM

and family in Melbourne as well


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 02:00 PM

Joybell,
What's the news from your daughter and her family?
Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 04:08 PM

I posted this
"Just a quickie to let those of you who know Lynne Stone, the Alleways and Frank & Mary (all from Marysville, where there's only four buildings left standing), they're all safe and relocated around Victoria. Lynne, and the Murphys have lost their houses but Dave and Di's house "is" 5km out of town and we don't yet know its status." on Sandra's "Good thoughts thread"

The news update this morning has 108 confirmed dead and at least 750 houses incinerated, 600 of which were at Kinglake (where I used to go rabbiting and orienteering in my youth); at Marysville there are only 4 buildings left standing. Fortunately, all the folkies who lived there are safe and have been relocated around Victoria until things settle down enough to find out exactly what's left. Adelaide friends have set up an email contact net to coordinate support for them.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 04:47 PM

Latest post from Billy on Ausfolk list has it that the Alleways' house survived the fires intact and that Dave's list of messages received is so long he'll be unable to respond for a while yet.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 04:49 PM

Continued thoughts and prayers for all in haqrm's way.

The news articles are very frightening. Please, please, please, err on the side of caution and keep yourselves safe.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:04 PM

My posts aren't getting through. Will this one?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM

There were reports on the news this morning that people in Kinglake could see the smoke column 25km away and thought they had time to get in their cars and leave. Two minutes later the fire was on top of them, it was moving so fast. I suspect many who drove off were caught in cars and even the short trees around there are at least 150' tall; the tall ones are more than 250' high. There were also reports that people who were "prepared" had too little time to start their pumps, the fire had moved so fast, so all their efforts relied on dry firefighting techniques. A bit tricky in temps as high as 46 C (130+ F) and winds of 120kph (70+ mph).

The Duty Fire Officer in Victoria was saying it will be at least a fortnight before they have anything like a full tally on casualties and infrastructure. And, even before the weekend's fires, Melbourne's morgue had received so many 'heat stress' cases it had space for only one more. The Alfred Hospital's burns unit had 18 at last count.

I'm sure your solace will be welcomed.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:11 PM

Dear god.....My thoughts are with all suffering this horror.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:23 PM

Funny that one did. Must be saying something I shouldn't.
Try again.

Thank you Rowan for the news about the Marysville crowd. We didn't know how to contact anyone for information. Mudcat is my life-line to the music world. We're feeling isolated and helpless out here. Safe of course. Dry and rainless but safe.

Thank you so much -- everyone -- for your messages of love and support.

One of my daughters, and 2 of her children, are in the path of one of the big fires -- but she'll be safe. She knows not to try and drive on the roads -- they are closed anyway. Her home is not under threat -- she's holidaying at Eildon.
My other daughter and her family are only a few kms away from a smaller fire -- but it's heading the other way. Launching Place for anyone who knows the area. They'll be ok unless the big fire to the south changes direction.
She says she wouldn't dare do anything silly because I'd nag her about bushfire safety even into the grave and way beyond.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:28 PM

Here's the bit that wouldn't post. Trying again. Maybe it's me.

...Speaking of help there's a site run by the ABC where people are offering help of all kinds. It's moving the way people are reacting. There are offers that range from whole homes for free, to a student who says he doesn't have much but he'll give his tent and share his clothes "Male medium sized". There are people offering help for pets and wild animals. A young woman wanting to make sandwiches because that's what she does best...

Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:29 PM

Hmmm. Me then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: pdq
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM

46 degree Celsius = 114.8 degree Fahrenheit


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 06:32 PM

And out here we had 47. Thanks pdq.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for the temperature comparisons -- I've got to look up a converter and maybe even start thinking Celsius as well as Fahrenheit -- never too late to learn a new language.

Been holding you all in our hearts and thoughts -- stay safe.

Rain and relief from the blazing temperatures are being prayed for.

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 07:04 PM

Thanks, pdq; I don't have to do the conversion all that often these days and the old cortex was a bit crowded.

A couple of days back goatfell asked in the northern terrortyevery day the burn off scrub so that house and land wouldn't catch fire so why doesn't the rest of Australia do that

Further to Joybell's response I'd like to add the following.

Over much of the Top End of the Northern Territory, the climate is tropical (with seriously wet Wet Seasons and seriously dry Dry Seasons and the dominant vegetation is Savannah Woodland or Savannah Grassland. The trees are rarely much more than 30' high and their canopies rarely have a density of more than 30%; there isn't much of an understory. For most of the last 40,000 years they have been "managed" by a pattern of patchwork-burning.

In the SE highlands of Australia and certainly around Kinglake the dominant vegetation is Dry Sclerophyll Forest and here the canopies are at least 30 metres high and with a density of 30-70%; routinely they are 50m tall and emergents may be taller. The Wet Sclerophyll Forest around Marysville has much the same parameters but is routinely 70m high with emergents frequently exceeding 80m; there is a fairly dense understory in both types.

The Top End Savannahs might, in any one hectare, have experienced a fire of mild intensity (a few kilowatts per metre of flame front) only every three to five years or so; there's not enough fuel to sustain frequent fires of high intensity. The DSFs have a pre-contact fire history of once in every 150 years or so and the WSFs have a pre-contact fire history of once in every 250 years or so. In both cases, a higher frequency changes the vegetation so that more frequent fires are likely to occur. Low intensity fires (of the sort used as fuel reduction burns elsewhere actually kill the standing timber but leave it in place so that regeneration is impaired.

There is no reliable evidence that Aborigines routinely practised burning in Dry Sclerophyll Forests of SE Oz and a fair amount of evidence that they never practised it in WSFs. Frequent controlled burning is just as destructive to these forests as these wildfires

On the occasions that these forests dry out enough and are exposed to high or extreme fire danger, their structure is such that a ground fire can get up through the understory and into the canopy to cause a high intensity crown fire. Intensities of multi megawatts and gigawatts per linear metre of flame front are produced and spotting (bits of branch, bark etc up to a metre long and burning) can carry the conflagration many kilometres ahead of the flame front. Such spotting leapt into Jannali (a suburb of Sydney) 7km across the harbour in the '94 fires and 10km across Lake Jindabyne in the 2003 fires of the Australian Alps.

Perhaps I've said enough.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: pdq
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 07:08 PM

A few years back, a particularly bad California fire season was followed by heavy rains and flooding. Johnny Carson said: "Good news. The mudslides have put out all the wildfires".


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 07:33 PM

After the 2004 fires in Victoria this was also a problem, not so much from mudslides but from the fact that the vegetation that had slowed the water down before it got into the creeks and storages was now absent. The water quality from catchments that have experienced a high-intensity wildfire takes almost a generation to recover its "original" status.

The catchments around Kinglake and Marysville are Melbourne's major water supply. It was in the rather protected catchment of Wallaby Creek (not far from Kinglake) that my thesis supervisor, the late Dave Ashton, did most of his research that made him the Mountain Ash ( Eucalyptus regnans, the dominant species in Wet Sclerophyl Forests and, at a measured 366', the tallest tree ever; even now the remnants are the tallest angiosperms) guru. One of my treasured memories is his request for me to climb into the canopy to install a pulley system so he could measure temperatures at various levels in the canopy. Abseiling down while the sun was setting, I was above the 60' high understory and all I could see around me was salmon-coloured trunks.

Magic! And all now incinerated, I suspect.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:03 PM

Rowan we've been moving in the same circles without actualy meeting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your sadness.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: pdq
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:07 PM

My father was raised in the redwood forests of California...


"In 1991, the Dyerville Giant, as it is known, was thought to be the tallest tree in the world, topping out at 369.2 feet. And then, in a blustery March storm, it blew over, taking four other redwoods with it like toppling dominoes. The crash was so deafening that people in Weott, the nearest town, thought a freight train had derailed. It caused the needle to jump on a seismograph 10 miles away.

"When it went down," said Stockton, "it was like losing a member of the family." These days he rushes out after every big storm to reassure himself that the park's other giants are still standing.

{parts edited out}

An ultrasecret giant

"The silence here is almost deafening," said Stockton as he led Hartley and me over, around and under a jumble of fallen redwoods near Bull Creek. He was taking us to the ultrasecret location of what until two years ago had been thought to be the world's tallest tree - a 370.5-foot behemoth known as the Stratosphere Giant."


The Stratosphere Giant is the tallest measured, but there are a few others recently dicovered that are (at least) as high. Official measurments were pending at the time of this article.

Will you settle for "tallest angiosperm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 08:33 PM

Sure, pdq. The 366' was the length of the felled log and they didn't count the kerf or the stump and, anyway, it was the 19th century, when whole forests in Victoria were cleared to make way for dairy farming. My grandfather's farm (in South Gippsland, not far from the current fires) was mixed-species eucalypt forest of the sort wetter than Kinglake but drier than Marysville and it was all cut down to clear the area for grass! They didn't even use the timber for construction; they just burned it!

My grandfather's kitchen had a huge photo (a copy of one in the book "Land of the lyrebird"; 3 chapters from my G-g grandfather) showing a group of 30 blokes at arms length to girdle the base of one of these giants. In the late 30s my father and grandfather cut down the last giant you could drive a horse and buggy through; it had been struck by lightning and was unsafe, apparently.

It was my concern about such wanton disregard that led me generally to become a conservationist and, specifically, to become a plant ecologist and do my research on bushfire ecology. At Lake Mountain, not far from Marysville, they set aside a half acre of the tallest remnants of the Mountain Ash specimens and logged everything outside that half acre, not realising that the consequent exposure to wind would immediately remove the top 100' of the standing trees. That's why Dave did his research on the vegetation at Wallaby Creek; being in a catchment that was then protected from logging the whole plant community was still at almost the same height as the ones over at Lake Mountain.

I just hope your redwoods are never exposed to the stuff that our Mountain Ash have had to deal with.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:18 PM

Words Fail Me !


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:24 PM

The grasslands were destroyed here in Victoria along with the forests. Re-placed with introduced pasture. Oh dear!

Further to the news about the Marysville Folkies -- Mary and Frank were away from home and they've lost everything except their little dog who was saved by a neighbour. Dave and Di managed to save their home.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:28 PM

latest count - 107 dead count is for recovered bodies - more will be found as police & others search the burnt areas. Local morgues are full & forensic teams from other states are in Victoria along with interstate firefighters and the army.

I've met Lyn - she spends most of her year in a small van travelling around to festivals - her computer, printer & sewing machine all have their places in the van, along with her instruments. Her machine embroideries of 3D native flowers featured in a display at the Botanical Gardens in Canberra a few years back.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:50 PM

The death toll is astounding already. That many deaths from wildfires are virtually unheard of here in the USA. I think the ecology is so different that the nature of the fires are much different there than what we know here in North America, even in southern California where there are many introduced species from Australia. I guess the heat and the extended drought, combined with trees and shrubs that are ultra-flamable, even explosive, are the difference. Do you think that is the case Rowan? Joybell?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM

Here is a piccie of Lynne and some of her embroideries.

It sounds as though her Aeola was still in the bus and is now incinerated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: quokka
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:55 PM

My thoughts are with all you guys over East. Here in Perth we are expecting a week of +35 C temps, starting today, and very strong easterly winds. I live only a few metres away from bushland, so the fear of bushfires reaching us is always there. Sending good thoughts to you all.

Quokka


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Peace
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 09:56 PM

Best wishes to all of you who are even NEAR the fire area. Keep safe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 10:41 PM

Janie -- Rowan is able to give a better answer, I think -- he's the ecologist. My knowledge comes from people like him and from a lifetime of observations of the natural world.

Thank you for that link Rowan. Seeing her face I realize Lynne and I have spent time together in the same singing circles over the years. Sometimes we've met in camp-ground showers. When things have settled down a bit I'll find out if there's anything we can help with for her as well as Frank and Mary.

Quokka my thoughts to you too. Stay safe.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 09 - 10:42 PM

Janie,
Many Oz native plants have evolved to cope with fires; some by avoidance and some by other mechanisms. Many eucalypts, for example, will be completely defoliated by a fire but, unless the fire's intensity was excessive for that species it may still survive. Removal of apical meristems (the buds at the extreme tips) stops flow of auxins that prevent other buds lower down from stirring into action. "Mallee" eucalypts have a lignotuber underground at the base of the stem and defoliation causes the meristems buried in the lignotuber to sprout multiple stems. Such coppicing leads to multistemming and the classic mallee shape. Stringybarks have a more-or-less insulating bark and defoliation causes epicormic meristems buried in the trunk and branches to sprout what appears to be a green fur the full height of the tree.

Manna gums and mountain ash have neither of these attributes. They rely on total destruction of all organic matter above ground level, leaving an ash layer that is full of nutrients for the seedbank stored in the soil (often carried there by ants); their seedlings specialise in growing higher and faster than everything else and shading out the competition, Manna gums even accelarate the crowning of a fire by shedding long strips of bark that catch and hang in the branches. These carry flames from the understory into the eucalypt crowns and are major components of the burning bits that form "ember attack" and major spotting of fires.

On top of this, many eucalypts have considerable quantities of eucalyptus oil in the leaves and bark. At elevated temperatures these can evaporate into the atmosphere. The Blue Mountains are so called because the blue haze enveloping them usually has a fair mount of oil in the atmosphere, dispersing the sunlight. Even though the weekend temperature at my place was only about 30 C the atmosphere was heavy with eucalyptus oil; a good bit of exposed flame would have been disastrous, which is why SE Oz has a system of Declared Fire Seasons and signage scattered across the landscape.

If you ever visit SE Oz, at rural intersections you'll frequently see large signs that display the current FIRE DANGER INDEX at the top of a semicircle, usually with a horizontal sign along the base that says "No Fires Without a Permit" or even "TOTAL FIRE BAN".

Most travellers don't realise that the settings are calculated, usually using a circular slide rule that takes into account the local Drought Index (currently off the scale in most of SE Oz), the number of days since the last rain and its amount (I don't know the relevant numbers for Victoria but the former would be large and the latter nonexistent), the current Relative Humidity (in recent days this would be so low as to be off the scale), temperature and windspeed. These meters are named after Alan MacArthur, who fought tooth and nail in the 60s to get firefighting authorities to lose their English attitudes to the Oz environment and replace them with others more appropriate to the Oz landscape.

I keep mine handy at home so I can't say that its calculation of the FDI would be off the scale but the highest rating is "Extreme" and, over Saturday in Victoria, that would have been an extravagant understatement. On the back is a set of tables to calculate (from the amount of fuel present) the flame heights, rate of spread and the spotting distance. The tables would have been seriously inadequate.

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 01:10 AM

My daughter just called. Both daughters and families are now back home and safe. Looks like their homes will be safe too.
For those of us woried about the Healsville Santuary with its native animals -- there's been an evacuation of animals to Melbourne. Don't know how or if they managed to collect them all -- some birds come and go there -- but the staff and voluteers have done a great job. Can't imagine how it was accomplished.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 01:22 AM

126 confirmed deaths - 4 hours ago

video & audio


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 01:23 AM

Apparently the Healesville animals considered most endangered in normal circumstances (Leadbeatter's possum was one, I read) were evacuated to Melbourne. It is heartbreaking, just so sad. People have rallied around to help and the things most needed now are money, and blood donors. Money so folk can go to the closest shops and buy something to wear; most of them left with just the clothes they were wearing at the time. Blood donors because many burns victims will need transfusions so supplies from all states will be used. The blood bank decided years ago that my blood was needed more by me than by anyone else, so I will be donating money.

Like Sandra I went to Lynne's exhibition in Canberra a couple of years ago and was amazed by her talent. I sew....Lynne is an artist with a sewing machine.

The plants that make such 'good' conditions are fires are also what make Australia unique. We wouldn't be the same places without them.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 01:42 AM

My spelling's off. Sorry.
Thanks, Jennie. That makes sense although gives us reason to worry about all the other animals and birds at Healsville.
A report just in states that Marysville and Yarram have been designated "crime scenes". Seems that arson is likely.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:42 AM

A dry gum tree is basically a potential firebomb - the eucalyptus oil in the sap and leaves is highly flammable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:01 AM

The death rate continues to rise. Now there is a debate here about climate change, and the drought and extraordinary extreme heat that has contributed to this disaster.

freda


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:12 AM

Some people who spent the night on a football field in Marysville spoke to the press. They were not as safe as I thought. They spent the night dodging flames as the winds changed.

Some towns are closed to returning residents until bodies can be removed from the streets. Scenes of burnt out car crashes give an insight into the panic.

A nightmare.

Glad you and yours are safe, Joybell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:38 AM

The red gum is the predominant naturalized Eucalyptus in southern California, and the source of most of the drama in the fires of recent years. I've seen the ferocity of it (but we love those trees so much) in what seemed to be a huge, cataclysmic event. However, I think you must be dealing with it on a far greater scope - I'm looking for fire maps now.

(I read you have the military working on it - We had a huge bureacratic snafu, with plenty of Navy helicopters available, but lacking legal authority to interfere with civilian matters. I think they've straightened that out.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:58 AM

What will happen to the arsonists if these fires are determined to be intentionally started and the criminals are convicted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:11 PM

This is so incredibly sad. I had to quit reading it for a bit as I couldn't stop crying. Such terrible losses. I am glad you are all safe and your friends and families.

It seems everytime we had a horrible fire in WY or CO, there would be firefighters from OZ lending a hand. I hope some of our firefighters are there for you all, now.

Thanks givings for rain and a stop to all fires continuing form Colorado.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:11 PM

25 years jail, Rapaire. The crime is regarded as murder if deaths are the result of the fire.
We've gone way beyond looking at simple causes like the inflamability of some of the Australian bush.
The ABC interview last night with a couple of scientists, with decades of study behind them both, left no doubt that they believe climate change has at the very least loaded the dice. They also said that they don't believe natural fluctuation can explain the conditions we saw on Saturday. As well as the whole of Australia, they have both been looking beyond this country -- at extreme weather and the changes related to it.
It was very sobering. I hope we continue to listen to experts like this.
I'm concerned that we'll get mired in opinions from everybody regardless of their knowledge of the subject and/or their invested interests.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:40 PM

NPR ran a story as a prelude to a 2 part series. According to a number of experts we are past the point of no return and by 2046 we will be seeing cataclysmic events as a direct result of climate changes which will lead to world wide famine, riots, food shortages etc. that will change the balance of power and cause world wide panic.

Anyone born after 1984 will see the results of our inept handling of Mother Nature in their lifetime.

Maybe the crazies living on subsistence farms with a year's supply of food and water as well as a few rifles have got it right after all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 03:41 PM

Thank you Kat and everyone. Kat, we've been the same. Sometimes the simple things, like the student offering to share his clothes, sets me off.
I have a little Ringtail Possum that was found unconscious during the heat wave leading up to the fires. He reminds me of the thousands of other animals and birds that were not so lucky. I can't help any of them. ONE POSSUM!! How can I get my head around it. All I can do is serve our Lazarus his favourite meals -- with a rose as a garnish -- which he eats first. I watch him decorate his little home -- a hanging basket with two liners sewn together. He gathers leaves in his tail and places them inside.
Narrowing one's focus, for small chucks of time, is sometimes necessary for survival I tell myself.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 04:05 PM

Some people who spent the night on a football field in Marysville spoke to the press. They were not as safe as I thought. They spent the night dodging flames as the winds changed.

Some towns are closed to returning residents until bodies can be removed from the streets. Scenes of burnt out car crashes give an insight into the panic.

A nightmare.


Truly it is, Sins.
The major problem with wildfires is the radiant heat produced by the flame front. It preheats everything, vapourising volatiles and even much that isn't usually volatile. A rule of thumb is that, for every metre of flame height, the radiation from the flames will burn exposed human skin for about 4 horizontal metres. This obviously doesn't hold true for small flames, up to a couple of metres high but the radiation from such flames can still overload the body's thermoregulation.

As an instructor and assessor of trainee firefighters I put a lot of effort into drilling these details into their consciousness and it grieves me when I see TV footage of people fighting flames in their back yards wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts; they are seriously foolish. Many of the flames in the footage shown of fires around Melbourne are in excess of 30 metres high; that's 100' for the nonmetrics among us. Radiation from such flames will burn at 400' away and it's no wonder that the people at Marysville's sportsground felt threatened. Most of the roads around Kinglake are in steep terrain and thus are narrow, with tall timber only a few metres from the shoulder. Even though the fireffront may be moving at considerable speed, the horizontal "depth" of flame can be so great that anyone caught in it can be exposed to intense heat for 15-20 minutes.

Sorry about all the bald facts but I suspect it's my way of coping. Almost 50 years ago Kinglake area was where I cut my firefighting teeth (and was under a truck being overrun while trying to save a house built in a gully; we and it survived) and the area between Kinglake West and Marysville was my turf 40 years ago. The friends I know about have all survived and the folkies are doing what friends do best.

But the death toll is now, according to this morning's news, 166 and expected to rise.

The 7th of February has a poor history. When the intensity of fire started being measured in Oz, the 1961 fire at Dwellingup in WA (Western Australia, for you North Americans) was regarded as the biggest; in the terminology of the day, it released the energy equivalent of 10 Hiroshima over a couple of weeks. On 7 Feb 1967, the fires in Tasmania coalesced and released the same amount of energy between 1pm and 3pm. The township of Snug disappeared, much like Marysville on the same day in 2009.

The emotional impact on the community was horrific and repeated on Ash Wednesday (liturgically and metaphorically) of 1983 in Adelaide and Melbourne and again in Canberra during January 2003. We got through those and we'll get through this but a lot of people are going to need the famous Mudcat hugs.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 04:15 PM

Back to the folk bits.

Although the Alleway's house apparently survived (the answering machine is still working) police roadblocks are still preventing access so details are yet to be confirmed; the instruments should be OK.

Lynne lost her Aeloa (and quite a lot of other stuff) but her computer is with her and contains all her patterns and photos. "At the moment just breathing is pretty good."

Proncious (Frank) and Mary were in Melbourne and have only what they had in the car but a neighbour saved their dog. Joybell & Hildebrand have offered them the loan of instruments.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,new zealand/jordan klenner
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 04:43 PM

hello how do you keep safe in a bush fire


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM

It's been pouring in Sidmouth and Exeter for nearly two days now, flooding all over the place. I sure as heck wish I could send some of it out to you guys.

Again, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 04:54 PM

I welcome your posts Rowan. Thank you. I'm thinking the same way. I can't help noticing the shorts and sandals and bare arms either. I headed a "Bushfire Survival Group" after Ash Wednesday. (Contary to a lot of popular opinion the group was mainly made up of volunteer conservation workers.) The rules for survival were set down during this period, based on past fires everywhere.
When the time comes for looking at the events of the present in a cool way (no pun intended) it will be the evidence gathered from people who died -- while following the rules --- that will be very important.
My wonderful Gilchrist guitar -- yes Hildebrand will share his Gibson with me. Frank really likes my Gilchrist. It will enjoy his attentions.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:11 PM

latest confirmed total of 173 deaths expected to increase throughout the day.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: quokka
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:47 PM

We started a bushfire collection at work yesterday morning and by lunchtime had raised $1000.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM

This really, really hurts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: John O'L
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:30 PM

The Red Cross has an appeal going which grew from $12 million to over $15 million in less that 3 hours this morning, and apparently that's just private donations. There are corporate donations on top of that.
Still, that's just a drop in the bucket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:48 PM

Joy, bless your heart for taking the little possum. That one is good to focus on. It is good to have small things to concentrate on and give us a feeling of control and positivity.

I am appalled at the loss of lives and homes, but I have especial empathy for all of the creatures and it tears my heart to pieces to think of them all.

Also, I apologise for not knowing enough about the geography...are there aboriginal communities which have been caught in this, too?

Is there anything specific we Mudcatters can do along with hugs? Spare instruments we don't need/want which could be sent down? Ideas in a separate thread, maybe?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 09:58 PM

Kat,
Many thanks for the offer but it will be at least a couple of weeks before the smoke clears (literally and metaphorically) and we have a good picture of how the folk community has been affected. So far it's only a few people we have information about and there may be others who've not been in any position to communicate, especially in some of the areas remote from Melbourne. For example, there used to be a thriving folk scene in St Andrews and the Smith's Gully/Panton Hills areas but I lost contact with them when I moved to the Oz New England, 17 hours' drive north of there.

how do you keep safe in a bush fire
Jordan, that is a rather loaded question at the moment and even before the latest events would require a fair amount of reading and some training; many in Oz aren't really aware although there are efforts at trying to help them become aware.

Keeping an eye open for what's happening around you and how weather patterns affect fires is always a good move, as is removing oneself from the scene completely. Even clever and prepared people got caught out in this latest event, mostly (I suspect) by the effect of the cold front.

Before it arrived, the High Pressure cell in the Tasman kept directing hot airflow (at high speed) over Victoria from the northwest. This pushed the fires along towards the southeast, where the fire front may not have been particularly wide but the northern and southern flanks became quite extended. When a cold front arrives (in the Southern Hemisphere), the wind backs almost 90 degrees and blows (often at high speed) from the southwest. Suddenly, a 20km long northern flank of a fire becomes a 20km long fire front. This can happen in as little as 2 or 3 minutes and may well be the major reason why so many got caught; it is a firefighter's nightmare and training attempts to avoid it.

The very worst place to be is uphill and downwind of any wildfire. Even a relatively gentle wind will cause the flames to lean downwind, increasing their preheating effect; the higher the flames, the more intense it becomes. The MacArthur meter calculates fire behaviour with the assumption that the ground is flat; for every ten degrees of slope the fire's speed doubles. The more fuel there is available (especially fuel as fine as 6mm diameter cross-section) the more intense the fire. Grass fires move with amazing speed but the flame front may pass in only seconds; scrub and forest fires can move almost as fast but will usually have greater depth so protection is required for longer.

Radiant heat is the big killer so, if you can protect yourself from it you've improved whatever your situation. Dugouts, of the sort recommended to be located in bush areas by the Royal Commission after the 1939 fires can be ideal but most were in disrepair by the time the 1962 fires ripped through the Dandenongs near the current conflagrations. Some over last weekend saved themselves by crawling into culverts under the road but even large wheel ruts and boulders have been used. There is a famous photo in Joan Webster's post-1983 book (repeated I think in Paul Collins' post-2003 equivalent) of a bloke who survived the 1939 fires by standing up under a woollen blanket that he repeatedly doused with water from a bucket he kept with him.

If caught while driving, the best place is often (but not always) in the car. It should be as far away from fuel (vegetation) as possible (an area already burned out is ideal) and the windows must be kept shut and personnel must be as low in the car as possible and covered with woollen blankets. This will frequently keep you safe until the flame front has passed and then you get out. Everything not covered will burn flesh so open doors etc with gloves on. This is drummed into all rural firefighters as a response to overrun and I assure you it works unless there is too much fuel too close to the vehicle; in those circumstances plastics inside the vehicle may vapourise and may even flash over leading to superheated toxic fumes that are themselves burning.

Natural fibres are de rigeur. Cotton drill, long sleeves and trousers, woollen socks, leather footwear and gloves, broadbrimmed hat (Akubras are made of felted rabbit hair) are routine for me and I keep a couple of woollen blankets in the back of the car, along with leather gloves under the driver's seat. Polyester, thinsulate and such artificial fibres may be more fashionable and even effective in the cold but heat can turn them into a passable version of napalm that melts into the skin.

And that's just the personal protection bit. Most states run a Community Fireguard program that is designed to help the nonfirefighters understand how to prepare and protect themselves and it is vital that people who live or work in the urban-rural interface get involved. One aspect is a proper plan and an understanding of when to stay and when to go; many of those who were killed had done things properly but, I suspect, were overwhelmed by the sheer scale of what was happening and decided to go but left that decision until it was too late.

The sound of a major fire can cause you to lose all control, emotionally and of your sphincters; until you've experienced it you don't know how you will deal with it. My first firefighting event was when I was young and we were overrun; all the others were older and knew what to do and we all survived. I've spent much of my life training others how to become effective in emergency situations, including firefighting and I've been up close and personal with some major events. But, even with all that, I can't be sure that I would have been any better at coping in a house by myself than any of those who tried and died.

So, how do you keep safe in a bushfire?
Prepare yourself, learn and train, practise until you are supremely effective and can be surprised by almost nothing. And then hope that luck is with you.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 10:46 PM

Rowan, thank you for all of your posts about this. I am learning a lot and I have a great deal of respect for your knowledge and sharing and experience.

Here in Western Colorado we invariably have wildfires started by lightening strikes. The deadliest was in 1994 when 14 firefighters lost their lives: Storm King Mountain. It was a tragedy they hope never to repeat.

Again, good thoughts and thankfull prayers for rain coming to Australia.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: nager
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 12:51 AM

Temperatures are dropping and we are getting a little rain at last where it is needed but it has been a terrible tragedy. The pictures we have seen on TV and in papers like the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald reduce you to tears. It is feared up to 300 may have perished once all the searches have been completed. It is amazing that while the fires have been raging in Victoria, in Queensland vast areas have been inundated by floods.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 01:04 AM

Organizations of all kinds are donating money to the appeal. I attended a meeting of The "University of the Third Age - Hamilton Branch" this morning and this small group is donating a quarter of their bank balance -- from fees of members. Everybody confirmed that all the other groups to which they belong are donating money too. That's: Creative Writers, Scrabble Players, Quilters, Choirs, Dramatic groups, Sports groups, local schools... to name just a few. Everybody is donating privately as well.

Thank you for your support Kat.
I have some contact with Folkies around Melbourne and Central Victoria, and also with the Bluegrass and Old Timey musicians. I'll pass on the thoughts of everyone here and try to find out if there are any needs we can help with. People will have lost collections of CDs and the like.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 01:05 AM

It is amazing that while the fires have been raging in Victoria, in Queensland vast areas have been inundated by floods.

As predicted by global warming/climate change models.

The pictures we have seen on TV and in papers like the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald reduce you to tears.

They certainly did for me.

As a piece of trivia, in the SMH today there was one photo that truly staggered me. It was an aerial shot of a landscape, of rolling hills to the horizon, with burned out timber as thick as you could imagine. My calculations had the remnants of the trees at least 50' tall. And right in the middle of all this was a two storied house, with trees no more than 25' from its walls, completely untouched by the conflagration.

No insurance company would have insured it with fuel so close. But other places, where they'd done the right thing about keeping vegetation away from the buildings are devastated.

Truly amazing; I can see why the photographer took the pic!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 01:38 AM

I remember after Ash Wednesday, Rowan, that there were several homes in dense bushland that had apparently survived because tall trees around them carried the fire over and onwards. Still you'd wonder how anything could survive last Saturday's fire -- given the changed overall conditions.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 03:52 AM

Death toll approaching 200, almost 1,000 homes destroyed

extracts -

The official toll stands at 173 dead with more than 50 people still missing, thought to be dead, making it the country's worst bushfire disaster.
The blazes have burnt through more than 3,000 square kilometres - entire towns were wiped off the map within 24 hours at the weekend.
More than 900 homes have been destroyed and 7,000 survivors have registered for assistance with the Red Cross.

Red Cross Australia spokesman Michael Raper says Australians, along with people around the world, have shown how generous they are.
"We have got $28 million from 156,000 people donating on the website and on the 1800 number," he said.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Riginslinger
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 08:07 AM

I looked through the thread quite quickly, and didn't see anything related to accounts that are now being reported in the US, that the fires (some of them anyway) are suspected of being intentionally set. Is there any truth to this rumor, and what would motivate anyone to do this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 08:23 AM

Our news of arson is coming from Australia:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/10/australia-fires-arsonists

One article said that life imprisonment is a possibility if anyone is proved guilty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 08:30 AM

Arson is suspected in some of the Victorian fires.

A man has been arrested over a fire about 50 miles north of Sydney - Accused fire bug refused bail

Arsonists not remorseful despite carnage, says expert

search of news radio site on "arson and bushfires and 2009"

181 dead as bushfires continue to wreak havoc extract - Police today established a taskforce to investigate how the fires started. They already know the Churchill blaze was deliberately lit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 10:57 AM

Maybe there will be just enough rain to soak everything down and not more. That is my fervent wish anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:13 AM

There are some pretty incredible survivor stories in the SMH. This lady has lived through three major brushfires, this time at the age of 99.

I just started looking at the slideshow of people who lost their lives or are missing at the SMH site. I cannot look at any more, nor read about it any more. It is too sad. You all are in my thoughts and heart.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:03 PM

Yarra Valley was hit hard, joybell. Any word on your daughter's home?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM

There are still approx 30 fires "Ongoing" around Victoria but the community is now entering the "blame and recriminations" phase as well as the more productive recovery phase. These phases seem always to follow major disasters (and even some minor ones) and, despite some of the wobbly grip on facts, do serve to deal with emotional release at the community level.

Sandra's links give the good oil on the current state of understanding regarding arsonists and the suspicion of arson is one of the reasons why so much of the State is categorised as a "Crime Scene". Consequent restrictions on access by displaced residents who want to check on whether their house/ friends/ livestock etc have survived are causing some grief but many access roads are still blocked by fallen trees, overhanging dangerous trees, burned out vehicles etc so it will be a day or two before they're cleared.

Of major concern is whether the current policy of allowing residents to remain to defend a well-prepared house (many of the deaths might have been prevented if this policy had not been in place) should be replaced by one of forced removal. The Victorian Premier has flagged the establishment of a Royal Commission to investigate this and other aspects of the fires. I have some strong views (aka "bias", although well supported by evidence) so I'll be a close observer of its progress.

Victoria has a history of establishing Royal Commissions after major fires. The one after the 1939 fires resulted in the proper organisation of the volunteer firefighters as part of the statewide Country Fire Authority and the building of many dugouts in forested areas for fire protection of small groups of people. After the '62-63 fires in the Dandenongs (when taxi cabs were deployed to all the hilltops to provide radio communications between the firegrounds and Melbourne CBD) the Commission recommended proper radio nets be permanently established. After Ash Wednesday's fires the Commission made recommendations about planning requirements (many of which don't seem to have happened) but the main one I remember was because of the overrun of the Cockatoo Brigade's crew; on a narrow track they'd stopped and turned the motor off. When they found they were in the fire's path the petrol in the fuel lines had vapourised and they couldn't restart and were incinerated. Diesel was consequently mandated as the only fuel for firefighting appliances and brigade training was changed to prevent such occurrences.

The report this morning was that the Red Cross had raised $15 million in just 12 hours yesterday and all from private donors; institutional donations had brought the total to $30 million by this morning. The Blood Bank has been overwhelmed with donors. For those in the US, blood donors are volunteers with no payment involved; you don't even get a yeast-enriched beer (as you used to in Britain) - a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit ("cookie" to our American friends) is the go.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:26 PM

I looked at some of those people too, kat. Although I didn't know any of them personally -- I know that some of them at least knew about bushfire survival. That's really scary as well as so very, very sad.
When I was involved in a bushfire survival group, we were told about an elderly lady (in her 80s or 90s I believe)who survived the Ash Wednesday fires. She became an inspiration to many of us. She was one of the many survivers who helped formulate the "stay or leave early" rule.
She had been left behind in a housing estate when everyone else had been evacuated. How this happened was also part of the study. There had been no classes about living with bushfires at the time. Anyway she shut herself in, pulled the heavy drapes and waited until the firefront had passed. When she opened her front door she noticed her verandah floor was burning in several places. With a mop and bucket she put out the fires and sat on the porch awaiting developments. She noticed that her neighbour's house was starting to burn so she put out the fires around this house too -- with her mop and bucket. When help came it was noted that every house in the estate had been completely destroyed except for hers and the two either side. She told everyone that she had nothing else to do while she was waiting.
There's a lot more to the study of course but this story has stayed with me.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:41 PM

After the Canberra fires (much the same sense of devastation and loss, although only 4 died) there was a major investigation into how the fire had managed to move so swiftly and destroy so many (~500) houses. This resulted in a half hour tv program on the ABC with Phil Cheney being one of the investigation experts interviewed.

Towards the end of the program they interviewed a mature-aged gentleman outside his house; he'd managed to stay and defend his own house and at least two others owned by neighbours who'd left. He was asked to display his gear; full overalls (like welders' overalls, but cotton, with no polyester), broad-brimmed hat, goggles, a nappy (diaper for North Americans) over his nose like a mask, leather gloves and a garden hose. He'd done what Joy's elderly lady had done, in the face of fierce ember attack and the passage of the fire front.

And, here's the bit that has stuck with me.

The interviewer asked, "Weren't you panicked?"
And the bloke replied,

"Of course not! I'm a public servant and we deal with emergencies all the time."

Everyone I know who saw that program understood what he meant.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: heric
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:44 PM

>now entering the "blame and recriminations" phase <

Knowing that was coming, Rowan, I decided not to mention something relevant to "next time."

Between our last fire and the one before that, the county installed, quite under the radar, a reverse 911 system. Thousands of people were surprised to get these automated calls in the middle of the night, telling them to get out immediately. It worked tremendously well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 05:01 PM

I've not seen Stewie showing up in this thread. He's in Darwin---and we truly hope that he and Cathy are safe.

All the best to all of you,

Art and Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 05:27 PM

SINSULL -- yes, she's OK. The fire has remained on her doorstep -- well 10 minutes by car away. It's remained one of the more controlable fires and it hasn't linked up with the others. The wind is taking it in the other direction. Although her area is also forest there's a lot of cleared space and the weather conditions are much improved. Also they won't be taken off-guard now. When the heat returns on the weekend (the forecast is 30 degrees - not 47) she'll be back down to the suburbs with her children and dog well before there's any danger. I was concerned that on Saturday their mustering point was so far away down one highway. (Lilydale and she's in Launching Place, for those who know the area.) There are so many people living along that highway. It's something to consider when this season is over.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 05:30 PM

Art -- No worries about Stewie and Cathy unless a cyclone comes their way. But no bushfire worries.
Love, and all the best, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM

A link to ABC radio Melbourne, the emergency services broadcast network for anyone who wants to keep upto date or just hear a little of what is happening with the bushfire story.

http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/

I know the Kinglake district well having lived in the area in several small towns over the years. In the last 2 years, we had looked at properties and acreage in several of the affected areas including, St Andrews, Strathewen, Christmas Hills and Steels creek. For family reasons we didnt buy and instead moved to the inner suburbs closer to the city. I was fairly heartbroken when we decided not to buy a place in Skyline Road, Steels Creek but having seen the utter desolation in that area after the weekend fires it just makes you think about how a seemingly random choice can be seen with hindsight to have such life or death implications. We could so easily have been in the area at this time. There but for the grace of (insert name of favourite deity/power here) ........ go us all.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 06:03 PM

I know what you mean, Andrez. Me too. I seem to have moved home a few years ahead of bushfires several times and made decisions not to move to other places just before them. We would have been in the middle of the Grampians when they burned 2 years back -- if money had allowed and that's just because we couldn't afford Kinglake or Marysville.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 09:52 PM

re: recriminations. Anger is a healthy part of the grieving process. I keep thinking about the young children who have been frightened out of their wits. A lot of people will need a lot of emotional support over the next year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:09 PM

Between our last fire and the one before that, the county installed, quite under the radar, a reverse 911 system.

heric,
If you're ever in Oz the emergency number, equivalent to your 911, to be dialled is 000; triple zero. And one of the suggestions to have been made already is the installation and use of a signalling system that automatically switches on any radio, TV and phone system and broadcasts "Evacuate" messages. Quite sensible but there were fires on Sunday that burned out houses before their presence was made known to the Fire Control Centre.

I know the Kinglake district well having lived in the area in several small towns over the years.

Andrez,
I was hoping you'd appear on the thread. Knowing that you had connections with folkies up there I was wondering if you'd had any news of people like Brent Davey, John Rasmussen & family and Norm Adams. I've been away from Melbourne for so long I don't even know if they still live up there but thought you might.

re: recriminations. Anger is a healthy part of the grieving process.

Sinsull,
I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not antagonistic to a blame and recrimination phase per se, just so long as it stays sensible; venting in such circumstances can be very therapeutic and positive. But there is a politician famous in Oz for his right wing views (his "Iron Bar" nickname dates from his use of such an implement to maintain order in the pub he owned) who is already spreading misinformation about how the conservationists are to blame because "they prevented Controlled Burning and logging". Much of the vegetation around the hills from Kinglake West to Marysville would be destroyed by Controlled Burning and most of it is in Melbourne's water catchments, where water quality is maintained by prohibiting logging.

A purely impartial observer might regard both him and me as having axes to grind, but I'd suggest his axe is more destructive of the values held by most of the people who are interested in the areas affected.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:21 PM

Rowan how I welcome meeting you here. Thank you. I've been concerned about "Iron Bar". Thing is he doesn't have the knowledge or the qualifications to back up his dangerous ideas. I get so weary of hearing that "the greenies wouldn't let us cut down trees/block up rivers/open up the wilderness/... so they are to blame for death/destruction/..."
I'm so glad I can come here in peace and not have to be on the defensive.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:44 PM

It's my pleasure, Joy.
When I was in Jindabyne during the 2003 conflagration (in the Planning Section as an Air Observer) I became aware of the local (State MP) w@nking publicly in the Cooma paper stirring up similar arguments against National Parks personnel to the extent that they were being spat upon, in the street, by other locals; there were bits of ash landing in their back yards so tension was "elevated".

The same pollie came into the Fire Control Centre and demanded that the Incident Controller stop what he was doing (there were only nine separate Fireground Divisions being managed around all of the Alpine areas) and give him a briefing. The person at the reception desk was a Queensland Firefighter and didn't recognise him so he officiously informed her and repeated the demand. If I'd been within earshot of this he would have been frogmarched out the door and told to mind his Ps & Qs.

As it was, It has been my habit to write "Director's Notes" as a debriefing tool after such events and there was much praise heaped on the NPWS performance and a couple of "heads up's" for the RFS. Knowing that the RFS had a checkered history about acknowledging the worth of such information, I sent it also to the relevant Regional Director of NPWS and made sure the local NPWS staff got a copy; the pollie's actions were comprehensively described. At the State election a few months later I was interested to note that the pollie had lost his seat.

Ohhhhhh!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:14 AM

Sadly I can relate to the being spat on bit -- although for us it was verbal attacks in the street.

John Rasmussen should be OK. He lives in Research. O'Leary is working on finding out about Norm Adams and other musicians who may be in affected areas. I can also say that the Warburton Folkies are also OK. They're near my daughter. There's another group of Folkies in the Bunyip fire area. Haven't heard about them yet. I'll try to find out. The Bluegrass and Old Timey crowd in Beechworth and surrounds -- I should try to find out about them too.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:15 AM

What about Bob Bolton? Where does he live? Has anyone heard from him?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:37 AM

Update for those interested. The Red Cross appeal for Disaster relief has just topped $44 million! If anyone feels they want to contribute the Redcross link is as follows:

http://www.redcross.org.au/default.asp

Cheers,

Andrez

PS: Bob is Tasmanian I think. Thats a small island off the coast of Antarctica over near new Zealand. I dont think there is a current bushfire emergency over there.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:42 AM

Bob is Tasmanian I think.

He might have been originally and certainly was once, but he's been a Sydneysider for yonks and well out of harm's way, unless he's decided to go down there as a volunteer. He's currently posting on the Old man kangaroo thread.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM

Thanks, guys. I did just see his posting in the other thread. Tasmanian eh? So that's why he's sich a divil?!**Bg**


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:12 AM

Rowan, Joybell, Sandra, and all of you in Oz who have been posting,

Thank you so much for taking the time, in the midst of what your Country is going through, for taking the time to post, to make it personal, and to share your depth of knowledge and information.

I also wonder about what the people of Queensland are going through with the flooding that has occurred there.

On the one hand, Australia is such an exotic place to someone like me on the other side of the world. On the other hand, however, each of you make real how connected we all are on this small piece of real estate that we call Earth. Our relatedness through having read one another's posts on any number of threads, be they above or below "the line," really brings this home in ways that simply reading the world news headlines does not.

May all who have experienced harm, or who fear they are in harm's way, seek and find whatever blessings may be had.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:14 AM

I don't think Bob is Tasmanian, but his wife Patricia is.

Himself and I have enjoyed many holidays visiting Victoria and at one stage we had even thought of moving there when we are both retired from work. I have family connections with Vic as my father was from Melbourne, and I loved it when visiting as a child. But we have decided to stay in NSW, we are moving to Tamworth instead - not so many fires around Tamworth. Victoria is the smallest mainland state of Oz, but the most fire-prone.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 01:20 AM

When you move to Tamworth JennieG, remember to bring some of those coastal breezes with you; the recent maximum temps have consistently been about 10 C higher than Sydney's. Of course, yu could always come a further hour and a half north, up the Moonbis, and come to where we're "real cool" by comparison.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: John O'L
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:04 AM

Apparently some of the flood victims in north Queensland have donated their disaster relief cheques to the bushfire victims in Victoria.
That's compassion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:23 AM

news from Bill Arnett ..
1.
"Aunty" Lyn Stone lost her home and her bus but was able to save her computer and her embroidery gear.
2.
Frank Murphy and Mary S were in Melbourne when the fire struck and lost everything they did not have with them.
3.
The Alleways AND their home & property (including the incredible "Otto") are safe.

in the meantime fire crews are now trying to keep separate two major fire fronts in Victoria's east after lightning sparked several smaller blazes between them. A 220,000-hectare blaze stretching from Kilmore to Marysville and Healesville is at risk of merging with a 25,000-hectare fire at Bunyip Ridge.

it's not over yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 03:59 AM

That's the one that affect my daughter and the people of Warburton. Although if the fires merge east of her and the wind keeps taking the fires east she'll be safe but the whole of Gippsland will be at risk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:53 AM

OK. Rowan. Norm Adams lives in a safe place. No problem there. I'll try and give updates about other musicians as they come to light. I've tapped into the network.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 07:52 AM

talking about Bob behind his back - he's Sydney born & bred, & as his home connection hasn't been working for months, he can only (occasionally) access Mudcat at work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 08:22 AM

Just listened to the radio news where Victorian Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, said the Marysville fire was suspicious & probably deliberately lit.

Vic arson taskforce appeals for public help - story posted 2hrs 37 mins ago One hundred and fifty detectives are working across six fire zones set up as part of Taskforce Phoenix.
Four of the six blazes are not suspicious with the cause of the Marysville fire yet to be determined.

Up to 1 in 5 dead in Marysville: Brumby - "In the Marysville area, there could be somewhere between 50 and 100 lives lost," he said. (out of 500+ population)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 08:29 AM

Janie -
queensland floods


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 08:32 AM

Who in the world could be setting these fires? What could be their motive?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:15 PM

Riginslinger, I suspect you and I are both old enough to know there are some strangely disturbed people out there.

The profiles of bushfire arsonists in Oz is male, between 15 and 25 years old, with a need for excitement, instant gratification and being the centre of attention ( "once removed" unless they set out to be caught as well); they also usually have a limited ability to think through the consequences of their actions.

But I'm sure you, in the depths of your being, already knew all that.

Cheers, Rowan

PS I hope you had some success with books for you friend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: John O'L
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:16 PM

Power. I've heard that arson is similar to rape in that respect..


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:21 PM

Riginslinger -- there's a good link up there to a piece about people who used to be called "Fire bugs". Arsonist is a better word I reckon. Less cute.
We're getting better at identifying causes of fires now. Amazingly deliberatly lit fires are common. Often it's people ignoring fire bans but it may also be arsonists. The increased mobility of everyone has meant that arsonists can be lighting a series of fires along a bush track and get out of the way and off home before they're noticed. The methods are very simple.

Causes under the heading of stupid, ignorant, momentary lapse, or unable-to-understand-and-unsupervised are:
Tools that throw off sparks, camp fires, cigarette butts thrown from cars, people burning off, little kids with matches and firelighters, power mowers -- and many more.
Causes like these are known to be responsible for bushfires in the past. On Saturday the grass fire that put us on alert was the result of a burn-off. The warnings were there, what can I say. *&&%%$###** !!! Workmen with power tools started one of the Ash Wednesday fires. In the 1970s terrible fires in the town where I lived were started by little kids with Mummy's cigarette lighter.

The pressure has eased somewhat. We can't yet say the word controlled but the weather continues to be kinder.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM

Aussie Bush Fire (Photos)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Tangledwood
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 04:49 PM

One of the reports relating to arson mentioned a trail bike being seen in the area. That set me wondering if all vehicles should be banned from non-residential forest areas, or even off-road grass areas, on high risk days, not because they may be driven by criminals but because of the exhaust.

Vehicles used on airport movement areas are required to have spark arresters on exhausts and more than one helicopter operator has lost his aircraft to fire after landing in long grass.

As for cigarette butts thrown from cars I'll say *&&%%$###** !!! too! During Brisbane's main fire risk period, pre-Christmas, there are often fires on centre median strips on the highway. They can only originate from butts.

Joy, enjoy the kinder weather while you can. Apparently smoke from your area is making it as far as SW Queensland.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Riginslinger
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 05:06 PM

Arson is believable in one or two cases, but I wouldn't think dozens. I was beginning to wonder if it was some kind of a terrorist attack.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 05:25 PM

It's been said before, with some truth in Oz, that a terrorist's easiest "Weapon of Mass Destruction" is a box of matches. The current conflagrations around Melbourne are being used to assess the adequacy of response to a terrorist attack.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 06:16 PM

see tandberg cartoon 10th feb - 18th of 20 cartoons, title "The Home Grown Terrorist"

A few years back the Howard Government sent every household in Australia a fridge magnet - telling us to be alert but not alarmed & keep our eyes out for the terrorists under every bed. Many folks were underwhelmed by the magnets & the scare campaign & either sent their magnets back or did not follow the suggestion of placing them on their fridges. I remember a cartoon where the authorities raided someone's place & declared they must be terrorists cos they had displayed their magnet on their fridge. I think it was also by Tandberg.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 08:19 PM

Evidently a fire at the weekend that burnt some houses (but no people were harmed) at Narre Warren on the outskirts of Melbourne was accidently started by a bloke using a power tool. He is to be charged but I'm not sure what the charge is to be......stupidity in using a machine that throws sparks on a day of total fire ban? Even steam trains aren't allowed to run on total fire ban days.

My online quilt group has put out the call and we are all busy sewing, we want to have quilts for those folk so they can have something warm to wrap themselves in and know that people are thinking of them.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 08:55 PM

Jennie -- how wonderful. So many of the people in the fire-affected areas lost handmade treasures like quilts. It's actually quite cold at night now. I feel for the families in tents.

While not ignoring the possibility of arsonists from the city it's probably more common to find local ones. Often people know the culprit. Someone will know. Sometimes whole communities know. It's proving it that will be the problem. And getting it right.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:01 PM

In Greece, fires on a similar scale have been set by property developers (or by people working for them) so as to destroy any natural-heritage value the land might have and make it available for building (typically of holiday resorts). Nothing psychopathic about it, just the entrepreneurial spirit doing its thing.

Some of the areas hit by the Victoria fires look eligible for that treatment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,A Regular
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:12 PM

We had a guy set 11 fires along a 10 mile stretch of road. At one point we were fighting seven fires at once. He endangered many, many people. I'd have no problem seeing him do 20 years, NO parole.

If any of these fires were deliberately set I hope the person/people are found and given a deep dark hole to live in for a few decades.

A firefighter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: artbrooks
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:18 PM

Difficult though it might be to believe, a fire was started near here a couple of years ago by an "on-call" firefighter who thought he wasn't being called in to work enough, abn wanted more hours. He's in jail. Another was started by a Forest Service employee who threw her "Dear Jane" letter in her (illegal) campfire - the letter caught fire and then blew away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:52 PM

It has been an acknowledged problem for some years that the firefighting services attract those who are excited about fires for all the wrong reasons. And others do it for revenge-type reasons. Some years back we got tired of the level of ("alleged"; remember that!) corruption by the local hierarchy and the captain of the local bushfire brigade. So we did some constructive enrolment (others called it branch stacking) and replaced the wannabe-farmers BBQ & social club with people who took training and responsibility seriously. Over the next three weeks we were called out to a fire every two days. Each one had been carefully lit so that, id the response was quick enough and competent enough it could be controlled; if this hadn't been the case, the entire area (downwind and uphill) would have been at risk.

Well, we were quick and effective and it rather polished our performance. After we let it be known to various people previously connected to the brigade that we had reported these fires to the police as suspected arson, they ceased.

Funny, that!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM

One of the worst arsonists, if not the worst, in the US was John Orr of Glendale, CA. Joseph Wambaugh wrote a chilling True Crime book about it. It really gets into the head of an arsonist and is esp. chilling because the guy was A Fire-fighter Who Couldn't Resist the Flames.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 10:58 PM

Our worst local fire was started by a lone and somewhat inexperienced hunter who set off a flare when he was lost at dusk. The judge took pity on him after he became a pariah and sentenced him to six months and a lot of community service.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:24 AM

There's a lull. Several fires still burning but nobody's under direct threat. Latest on the cause of the Marysville fire is that it was almost certainly deliberatly lit.
Heard a report that the "early warning system", that may or may not have helped, was delayed for "reasons of privacy". It will be working before next fire season. Couldn't help being reminded that when my heart stopped last August the local paramedics, who are friends, got lost because they were given a wrong property number. Names are not given "for reasons of privacy". So I could have died in private -- isn't that thoughtful.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 06:43 AM

lucky you.

Last year I spent a lot of time at dusk in the inner city trying to find a friend's house - many streets were not named & many houses were not numbered, & I was wandering back & forwards across a main street trying to find side-street names. At the time I was wondering how ambulances would have coped finding a sick person.

Sydney had been having a cool spell! I even threw my winter dressing-gown across my bed last night as it was too cool to sleep covered only with a sheet. And we are getting rain at times! like now.

I see your end of the state is cooler, too, merely late 20s in the next few day, but still high fire danger, tho isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening of Monday sounds good.

I hope the forecast doesn't change - apart from more rain.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:12 PM

Update for those interested. The Red Cross appeal for Disaster relief has just topped $63 Million and rising!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:31 PM

Funny thing about finding our place, though Sandra, is that out here we're all miles apart -- some of us 5 or more. The numbers are the distance from the main road. So one number wrong and you're maybe 20 miles out. On the other hand everybody knows everybody's name -- and fire reference. The fire reference isn't used either -- for "reasons of privacy". AHHHHHHHHH! Of course the bush telegraph still works amazingly fast. We would have been better to have rung our voluteer paramedic friend direct and have him sort it out. Not complaining though. Just musing.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:48 PM

We have the same numbering in our rural shire as Joy described (it is specified in an Oz/NZ Standard) but I recall an incident before they introduced it and when I was living another 40km west.

As I came round a bend I found the copper wires of the phone line had been cut and left across the road, hazardously. I stopped and relocated them off the road and went home to ring Telstra; the copper lines to phones out our way had been replaced by underground optical fibre for a while.

When I got the Services Difficulties and Faults operator she asked me the location.
"Mrs McGrath's, just west of The Pinnacle"

Now, everyone along that road knew Mrs McGrath and all of the service techos in town did too. But, no. The Operator for our area had been relocated to Newcastle, five hours' drive closer to Sydney and she hadn't much of a clue. It took more than a week for the wire to be removed and to this day I'm not sure Telstra were the ones that retrieved it.

Thankfully I wasn't trying to report a fault in an LPG gas cylinder. A while later I responded to a house fire and (due to the incompetence of the local FCO) was required to direct a water stream from only one 1" hose to cool it; I could see the seam bulging with the heat from the fire. When we finally did get hold of the gas company, their faults responders had be relocated to Perth, clear across the continent.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 07:11 PM

Another update for those interested. The Red Cross appeal for Disaster relief has just topped $75 Million and still rising!

ABC reports that Sky News is reporting that the economic "rescue package" stuck in the Senate has just been passed. That means even more $$$ to help make a difference in all the fire affected areas.

Sky News

There is much acrimony between Green and non-Green elements as to the need or not for burning off and fuel load reduction. Both sides make telling points especially in light of all the personal tragedies over the past week but I hope at least common sense will prevail and the need for personal safety can be reconciled along with environmental concerns without going overboard to the other extreme and bulldozing everything that is remotely flammable. The coming Royal Commission into these events will be very, very interesting indeed!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: heric
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 08:09 PM

Most people here don't know that our last huge fire largely traveled along a sea-to-sky ("coast to crest") riverfront park/trail system fifty miles long (when they finish it.) But we have such a shortage of green that nobody can really develop a green versus non-green schism. They all just yell at the homeowners for not clearing their own properties.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 08:20 PM

I hadn't realised until a friend forwarded a PowerPoint slide show this morning, that the house, artworks and much of the beautiful forest garden sculpture of Bruno Torfs, had also gone from the World, with the devastating Marysville area fires ......

http://www.brunosart.com/index.htm

Gawd knows, the World could do with a little more beauty and magic ....
But, at least the family are alive, unlike many friends and neighbours.

R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 09:20 PM

heric that's so true. I've lived in bush-fire prone areas most of my life and we live in these places because of the bush. Many people, mostly new-comers to the place we last lived in, thought the State Park and the homes of everyone else should be their personal fire-breaks. Don't quite know how that would have worked.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: John O'L
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 03:08 AM

Man charged over Churchill fire

Sound like a sick puppy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 04:54 AM

One folkie to add to the list is Di of Brandragon morris, she is ok but lost her home and business. We were booked to perform in Marysville next weekend, staying at Di's but will be fundraising in Diggers Rest instead.
If you think the arsonists are low, how about the **** who have stolen the firefighters safety clothing while they sleep the sleep of the utterly exhausted.
Bill S from Melbourne (yes I've requested a nic change!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:16 AM

My god, did they do that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 01:15 PM

Here's hoping that this respite lingers. Droughts do have to end sometime.

Kind of like Juneau, Alaska. If we don't go back to our 'normal' average of snow soon we'll have to change the norm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 04:47 PM

rich-joy, thanks for the link. What a wondrous place. I am grateful they have the book and DVD and I wish them all the best in salvaging what they can of the garden and rebuilding. His artwork took my breath away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM

Yes thank you rich-joy. I'd never seen this work. The way it blends with the natural forest. So very sad along with all the other great sadness.
I believe seeing this work helps us to understand why people live in these areas.

Bill, is there anything we can think about that Di needs? Please pass on our thoughts to her.
Break a leg at Diggers Rest.

We're performing tomorrow at a local event. We're actually being paid for a change. Many of us will donate our money in some way. The local school is collecting donations as well as many other groups.
Local farmers are sending feed even though they have so little themselves because of the long drought.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 07:54 PM

our national radio service is Streaming now - National Bushfire appeal (day & night, thru all programs) with interviews etc & latest news


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:05 PM

Watched the ABC's 730 Report last night; it was all devoted to interviews with those more or less directly involved. It included a bit of the predictable "conservationist bashing". Part was from a farmer complaining about the fact that farmers were no longer allowed to cut firewood from the roadside verges "thus increasing the fuel available to the fires." That argument sidesteps the fact that, in most parts of SE Oz that have been cleared for agriculture, all the privately owned land has been cleared, leaving only the roadside verges and cemeteries with anything like the original vegetation components or habitat (trees with nesting hollows for birds and logs with hollows for bandicoots etc) to act as wildlife corridors and revegetation banks. Tricky to find and acceptable (Let alone the "right) balance.

The other I first met when he was a new lecturer and a bit wet behind the ears and the paint on his PhD hadn't yet dried. He described himself as a "plant ecologist" (as I do) and I'm quite certain he can tell you all the details of the movement of phosphorus through various ecosystems (rather important in Oz soils) and the productivity of second-rotation crops of Pinus radiata (aka Monterey pine and a valuable 'weed' in Oz) but he had a considerable disregard for those of us researching plant sociology, succession and fire behaviour the last time I heard him before this interview.

It'll get worse before it gets better.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 12:11 AM

Plant Sociology? The mind boggles? Must have missed that elective in my Social Work studies!

:-)

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 12:15 AM

Plant Sociology 2. Maybe its more of that Post Modernist shite that has infected so many of our tertiary courses, these days.

:-)

Cheers again,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 12:37 AM

Well, it is known that certain plants grow better when beside one another, such as, I think it is marigolds, which help protect vegetable plants from infestations. Also, I once had a gardenia and one other houseplant, can't remember which one it was, but next to one another they always did well; if I separated them, same window, same amount of light, etc. just apart with one or two other plants in between, they got droopy, sick, lacklustre, etc. Back together and they would perk right up. So...they were quite social with one another.

I know there are plants in the forests, here, which help one another to grow, being sociable in nature's own way. Makes sense to me!:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 05:45 AM

This morning I had brunch with friends from Victoria. Dot's cousin lives in Bendigo. The fires were nowhere near, the cousin decided to go to the shops and took her teenage son (who she often leaves at home playing computer games while she shops). They got home 25 mins later to find their home and everything in it completely burnt down.

At work yesterday, we had a raffloe and barbeque to support the bushfire victims, and raised $701 dollars. We'll have another one next week.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 06:23 AM

Sadly, you can get lower than the above. Fosters have been reorganising and ringing up people to tell them they are sacked. So far they have rung 3 volunteer firemen while they were fighting the fires to tell them they are sacked. Another reason not to drink their rubbish brew. Bit of a challenge for their PR to dig themselves out of that hole.
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: freda underhill
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 04:39 PM

Apalling behaviour. I'll never drink Foster's again - not a hard pledge to keep, I don't drink beer! but I do purchase it, I usually have some on hand for visiting folkies when I have a session.

In the meantime, a couple of law firms are instigating class actions against Singapore-owned electricity company SP AusNet, which is responsible for maintaining most of the power lines in eastern Victoria.

A two-kilometre stretch of power line in Kilmore East snapped during strong winds and record heat about 11am last Saturday. Within minutes a nearby pine forest was ablaze. Within six hours the fire had destroyed nearly every building in the towns in its path.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimated the cost of the fires at about $500 million. But SP AusNet's legal liability has been capped at $100 million under a deal struck by the former Kennett government with private utility operators, when the former State Electricity Commission was privatised in 1995. Legal sources said this meant the Brumby Government could be forced to cover a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 05:19 PM

No more Fosters for this household either. I imagine they'll regret the decision.
I keep thinking about words and the images they produce. Not yet but when we look toward the future we need to understand that the Bush is seen in very different ways. It depends on your perspective and on the events that are current.
When talking about forests (and woodlands and grasslands)firefighters have to use the word, "Fuel" but the same picture emerges if you use the word, "Habitat". Fuel is a powerful word. Habitat is benign. If we get it wrong there is so much to lose.
It will get worse won't it, Rowan. I wonder if it will then get better. Stay safe.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 11:15 PM

I was listening to Geraldine Doogue's Saturday morning program on Radio National and heard her interview Roger Underwood (a past General Manager of the WA Dept of Conservation of Land Management) and Clive Hamilton, who has been researching changes in attitudes towards the bush in Oz over the last two centuries. Underwood is yet another who is lining up against conservation-conscious attitudes. He kept declaring that the only way for land management to be properly done is by burning forests and maintained that all WA forests needed regular burning.

It struck me that he was seriously derelict in his use of the term "forest"; although there are tall forests in WA they don't have much in the way of the tall forests east of Melbourne. Many of his listeners will come from all over Oz, including places where any group of trees taller than 8 metres is regarded, locally, as forest. There was a TV program on Thursday night where the same stuff was being presented by Tim Flannery et al.

Don't get me wrong, Tim has a few really good ideas but he's no bushfire ecologist, despite losing his house and manuscripts in the '94 fires around Sydney. He's a bit like the international physicist who uses his pre-eminence in that field to give his arguments about the existence of the Christian God "added credibility." And the young woman (who comes from Cape York and has done some wonderful work representing Aboriginal communities) chimed in with her comment along the lines of "Aborigines burned vegetation all the time and they should have been doing that around Melbourne." Well, she's right about her own community's cultural practices but seriously mistaken if she believes that all Aboriginal communities in Australia had the same cultural practices, let alone applied them in their respective areas in the same way as Cape York's communities practised theirs.

Fortunately, there has been evidence of a thriving sense of humour among the people affected. A woman took a TV crew to the incinerated remnants of her house. When they proceeded to walk willy nilly through it she admonished them; holding up the remnants of the handle to what had been her front door she directed, "Through here." And the fire crew driving through an incinerated landscape went past a couple of residents blacking out a small spotfire with knapsack sprays; the crew received hoots of laughter when they commented, "You can't get a decent fire anywhere her anymore."

I'm still feeling frustrated because the surgery has prevented my getting involved but the tears have passed and, with them, any residual fragility. It will get better.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 11:53 PM

Out here in the Western District of Victoria there used to be native grassland. Aboriginal people burned it regularly and the vegetation reflects that practice. The mountain range to the north of these grasslands was not burned and the vegetation shows that. Some old stories, from the few Aboriginal people left, bear this out too. The mountains were a sacred spot and not a hunting area. There is no place on Earth quite like them. It's an upthrust from the sea-floor -- sand and granite 100 kms from the sea.
Sadly when the mountains burned 3 years ago all sorts of people became experts about the value of frequent burns -- including many of the younger members of the Aboriginal community. Those special mountains are quiet now where they were once full of birds. The fern gullys are weedy and dry. Many areas are now bare rock.
I fear they will never be given the chance to recover, even if they can survive the drought. Tourists still go there to see the rocks. People say, "See it's coming back!" But it's not. What's allowed to come back is not special and it's not unique.
But yes, you are so wise, Rowan. I too believe it will get better.

Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:56 PM

May the parts of Australia that can, become fecund and verdant again. May the parts that cannot, reach and maintain a balance that sustains all.

{{{{Australia}}}}


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 05:25 PM

Rowan -- What are you saying!! Of course you've been involved. I believe all of us here understand how important this thread has been. It's a place we can come to express our grief, share our thoughts, give and receive hugs and messages of comfort. It's a place where we are not judged when we discuss all the sadness.
I rang my daughter last night. We talked about many things. We began, of course, with the deaths of people. My grandson's friend lost three of his other best mates. The kids are supporting each other. My daughter said, "It's so hard, Mum, they're only fourteen." We talked about friends who survived but lost everything. Others who came home to find their homes safe in the middle of blackness.
At last we talked about our walks in the Bush. My daughters shared those from before they were born. As a toddler this daughter once said, "Mummy my little legs are so tired". I reminded her about that last year when she walked 100 kms for OXFAM.
Together we find we can talk about the loss of special places -- both man made and wild -- Kinglake, Murrindindi, the towns of Marysville and Narbethong. The animals domestic and wild. We've both been wary about talking about the Bush. She said, "They're starting to bash the Greenies again". I said, "Keep your head down. Stay cool. We'll talk again soon. We're not alone."
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 04:39 PM

As predicted, the forensic teams have increased the official death toll and there are still quite a few listed as Missing.

I was pleased to see MediaWatch did a proper hatchet job on Miranda Devine; it's been a long time since I first had noted her as a bit of a hate monger. I think I'll let Michael Duffy's pathetic attempt (much like his contribution to the climate change debate) slide into the oblivion it deserves.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: open mike
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:43 PM

I send good wishes, strength and healing to all those involved in this tragedy. I know all too well the pain of fire loss. Blessings to those who have lost lives and loved ones in this terrible event.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 06:36 PM

ABC radio talk back program last night was sensible too. Gave people with the necessary knowledge a fair go. It showed proper concern and sympathy as well as well-considered expert opinions.
Think I might start watching and listening again.
open mike my thoughts were with you again too.
We're sharing knowledge, USA and Australia, I notice. A program I saw recently was excellent. The Californian fire-fighter (he had other related qualifications) began by saying that knowledge of a specific region was the first step and then went on to give his expert opinion on the changing nature of wild fires. He spoke about complex ecosystems that are our forests, building and living in fire-prone areas, the effects of climate change, fighting fires....
So important that we listen to the right people.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: John O'L
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM

... Unlike the NSW govt., which has recently altered development requirements so that just about anyone can build just about anything just about anywhere.

Aged homes in fire zone

Thanks Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 07:07 PM

2009 Victorian Bushfire coverge

Laughter lifts spirits among bushfire survivors


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 08:18 PM

Take 2

Oz Folk Identity, Peter Auty, (ex Queenslander, but citizen and lover of The World), from Flowerdale, was fighting fires elsewhere. He has written a very moving poem about his experiences and read his poem in the interview. It was on ABC's Radio National breakfast programme on Tuesday, Feb 17th - it's shown in the 8.05am time slot.

R-J

my blicky skills have gone walkabout this morning, so I'll just leave it at this :



but please have a listen ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 08:22 PM

Take 3?! Crikey!

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/

(Peter Auty's interview and poem, from Flowerdale, Vic)

R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:36 PM

I'd wondered about Aut, rich-joy. I heard the poem this morning but hadn't recognised his voice and Fran Kelly suggested he hadn't wanted his surname mentioned.

Dis you manage to get any info about Rob Shackleton, who's in the same area; it's where the tree of us used to go horseriding together 35 years ago.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM

Hi Rowan, if you PM me an email addy, I'll send you the photo and other details I have received lately, of Pete. Sorry, don't know Rob Shackleton, though ....

Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 10:34 PM

All I can offer are more {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}} to you all. Still so sad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 11:44 PM

Another mate, an old Bushie, normally from Rossville via Cooktown (near the famous "Lion's Den"!) has not been able to get home since the Woodford FF at New Year!!
He's currently with Rellies in Bowen (near the Whitsundays) and they all say they have NEVER seen so much water in all their lives, as is Up North at present!!!
Pictures of the Queensland floods are also heart-wrenching, when you consider the stock losses, the homes and livelihoods lost, and the native flora and fauna destruction .....

R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: KEVINOAF
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 01:46 AM

no need for further test- matches, the aussies have all the ashes they need now!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 04:16 AM

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

Dorothea MacKellar


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Tangledwood
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 05:00 AM

Rich-joy - thank you for the link. I haven't seen Peter for several years and had no idea what had become of him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 05:38 AM

Yes, great to hear about Aut, we shared a house decades ago and now I find he's just down the road.
Bouquet to K-Mart they took the survivors into the store after hours and told them to help themselves to everything they needed.
Brickbat to the cretin who lit a fire in Belgrave at the weekend, CFA stopped it from reaching the forest just in time. Good job the helicopters were handy.
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 04:08 PM

Do any of the Australians here know Matt Varga (wicked composer and multi-instrumentalist) who lives somewhere in the area around Mitcham? Last I time heard from him was on Feb. 10, and at that time he said his area was under an ember alert. I'm getting worried about him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM

Carol, I haven't seen his name on any of the lists of dead or missing. Mitcham is much further east than any of the affected areas and is surrounded by suburbs, any one of which would have had the headlnes screaming even louder than they have been. Andrez posted (above, in the thread) a link to the Red Cross site that is collating info and requests such as yours.

All the best.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM

Mitcham -- outer suburb of Melbourne Carol?
If that's the case he's OK. Unless of course he means he wasn't at home at the time. At various times all the areas east and north-east of Melbourne have been covered in smoke and sometimes embers but the fires have been heading away from the Micham area.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 05:41 PM

MItcham=20k east from the City Centre. It is strictly suburbia. There would be no direct concerns for this area unless the Dandenong ranges went up in flames and embers started to drop.

Regrettably its soooo dry up there and so treed that fires up there would take off with very little encouragement. The number of residents on Mt Dandenong and beyond would make the consequences of such a fire truly horrendous.

If your friend lives in Mitcham Carol I think he is quite safe for now.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:05 PM

Cross-posting with Andrez and Rowan. Isn't Mucat a wonderful place.
Further to Carol's friend's remarks. My daughter in a suburb not far from Mitcham was put "on alert for smoke" around the same date. Later the whole of Melbourne got the same message. It's still current. She's a bit closer to the fires and I believe she did mention "embers" as well.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Tangledwood
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:13 PM

Heard on the news this morning that the next concern is run-off from the fire areas polluting Melbourne's water supply reservoirs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:38 PM

Out of the mouths of babes...I was just telling my five year old grandson about the animals and fires and the people lost and the houses etc. lost to fire. I broke down and cried about the koala and all. He hugged me and told me to "just keep thinking about the koala, nothin' else, and to put the Light around it" so I could feel better. So, here we are in Colorado, sending lots of Light, Love and Hugs to all of the critters and you all.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:41 PM

He works in Mitcham. I'm not exactly sure where he lives. Last we heard from him, he said that the towns surrounding his were burnt, but as of then, his was ok, but on a flying ember alert.

Thanks for the heads up about the Red Cross resource.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:57 PM

kat, please tell your grandson thank you so much from me. I'll do that too if that's ok. And I'll pass on the idea to my girls and their children.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 07:29 PM

I will, Joy, thanks. And, of course, please pass it on. It's something I taught my children to do whenever we saw something terrible, i.e. car wrecks, forest fires, etc. Morgan has a book, passed down from my kids, called "Meditation for Little People" which teaches them about their "god light" within and how they let it shine when being kind, etc. So, even though we are not Christian, we still talk about his "god light" and that is the Light he put around the koala, etc. He also knows it as the Cosmic Light and his angels help him to remember to let it shine, as in This Little Light of Mine.:-)

If you google the book title, there are lots of them available, in case you're interested in them for your grandchildren. It's published by Devorss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 07:47 PM

Thanks, kat. My daughter and grandchildren would welcome this idea. We aren't Christian either but I believe we can relate to it too.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 04:34 PM

A couple of days ago the police were hoping that some of their count of the dead had been double counted in the early and more confused stages; last night they discovered more uncounted so the official toll has risen to 208.

And there are now volunteer lawyer groups tackling the insurance companies on behalf of the survivors.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 05:31 PM

Speaking of vultures, not lawyers, some people are now "flooding" the local real estate agents looking for "bargains" in the bushfire zones.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 07:52 PM

Sending songs and prayers up for the fire-ravaged land and all creatures who dwell there.

Healing begins even in the midst of destruction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:45 PM

A letter from the Marysville mob to those who have been concerned. It's a little on the long side but it speaks volumes.

Hi all,
Lynne has kindly sent through the content of the letter.
It's worth the read!!
Brian

Thursday, February 19, 2009 3:27 PM
Subject: Here's the content of the letter from the Alleways

Dear Family & Friends,

We have been inundated with e-mails, text messages and phone messages
expressing your love and concern for our family and our friends in
Marysville, Buxton & Narbethong. We are deeply moved and humbled by the
outpouring of your love, concern and offers of help and thank you all
for your support. It will take us a long time to catch up personally
with all of you but I hope this letter will answer a lot of your questions.

To begin at the beginning, on Saturday 7^th February Claire was
bushwalking in the Otways which was cooler and pleasant, Murray was
staying with a friend in Narbethong and Diane & David were at home. The
weather forecast was for 46^o C & strong north easterly winds and later
in the afternoon a southerly change and cool change. In preparation for
the conditions Diane cleared our gutters and raked around the house and
David filled and checked our standby generator.

After that we closed the house and took it easy on what was going to be
a very hot day. Just after 3:00pm Diane received a S.E.S. pager call to
assist in removing a tree that had fallen on the Maroondah Highway near
Buxton, caused by the very strong winds. While she was on this call they
observed a plume of smoke over the Black Range to our North East. As
they proceeded to remove the tree the plume of smoke increased and
darkened and by the completion of their work it was clear that this fire
was moving rapidly to the south along the black range (30km? away).

Meanwhile, back at our house David receive a phone call from Murray at
Narbethong asking if he knew anything about the heavy smoke in the air.
David said he would look up the CFA web site and phone back. The phone
rang again; it was Jodie Murphy phoning from Buxton asking David if he
knew anything about heavy smoke in Buxton. At this stage the skies were
still blue and clear over our house. On the CFA website there was
information about a fire at Murrindindi mill but no nearer fires.

At this stage Diane returned home from her S.E.S. call and informed
David of the fire she had seen on the Black Range and it was decided
that David should go and collect Murray immediately and Jodie and her
1.5 year old twins should be asked to join us as her partner Leon was
away with work and her father Proinnsias and Mary were in Melbourne.
While David was away Diane busied herself filling all available
containers with water and clearing the area around the house.

While travelling over Mt Gordon to Narbethong David observed a line of
flames extending km's along the Black Range and moving very quickly.
David picked up Murray and advised the people he was staying with to
leave as they are surrounded on all sides by thick forest. After
leaving, within a kilometer, David & Murray noticed that a grass fire
extending 200-300m had started on the ridge line 500m to their right
between Narbethong and Marysville. David and Murray returned to their
friends' house and advised them and their neighbours to leave
immediately. Driving along David tried to phone 000 but the line was too
busy and rang out continuously. Driving through Narbethong they tried to
alert the CFA but they had departed already (to fight the Murrindindi
fire?) on reaching Marysville they detoured by the CFA shed and informed
them and they said they would investigate.

On arriving home the family, with the help of Murray's friends from
Narbethong, busied themselves with fire preparations (e.g. blocking and
filling gutters) hosing down, starting the generator when the power
failed, etc, etc. While this was occurring Lynne Stone, Gayle Walters
and other friends from Marysville drove in saying they were evacuating
from Marysville to Alexandra. At this stage we received a call from an
S.E.S. member that an accident had happened, a tree had crushed a
vehicle in Marysville and someone was entrapped. David was on call as
the local ambulance officer and felt obliged to respond. After a short
discussion with Diane we both realized our roles in the S.E.S and
Ambulance put saving lives above higher priority than fire plan. David
left Diane & Murray to make their choice of implementing the fire plan
or to leave but both feeling comfortable with option of leaving. While
David was away Diane & Murray decided to take refuge with our people in
our valley at a neighbour's farm and return after the fire front had
passed. Murray diligently collected all of our musical instrument and
computers and put them in the van while Diane packed clothes and
important photographs.

In Marysville the sky was black with rolling clouds of smoke, high winds
and embers. The patient was suffering minor injuries but took
considerable time to be extricated from the car. Four ambulance officers
were in attendance and it was decided that the two officers resident in
the township would transport the patient to rendezvous with an Alexandra
ambulance so that the Marysville ambulance would be available for any
further calls.

When leaving Marysville David observed a wall of flame twice the height
of the trees (60-80m tall) come rapidly over Mt Strickland and descend
at very high speed into Marysville.

On returning to our house David found that Diane & Murray had departed
but a fire trailer had been deposited in the driveway. Judging he had a
little time to spare David started the fire pump and proceeded to hose
down around the house. At this time Diane returned with a neighbour to
retrieve the fire pump and explained they had retreated with other
neighbours to a farm 1km further down the valley surrounded by well
irrigated paddocks. The plan was to wait there until the fire front had
passed then if possible to return to our house and fight any ember attack.

In less than five minutes Diane's S.E.S. colleagues drove in. They had
just come down the valley from Marysville and informed us, in the
strongest terms, not to stay but to leave while it was still safe. The
sky was black and the deafening roar of the fire could be heard although
no flames were visible, Diane, David, Murray and Jodie decided to
evacuate to Alexandra. Throughout the journey we were engulfed with
smoke but saw little of the fire.

Alexandra was organized chaos with the high school and basketball courts
acting as emergency refuge centers. Countless volunteers tried their
best to assist with no power, high temperatures, wind, smoke and very
limited information. Little did we know a lot of Victoria was in a
similar condition and that the authorities information was way behind
the conditions on the ground.

Thankfully our lovely friends in Alexandra who were away for the weekend
offered us the use of there house (a thousand thankyous Ron & Penny).
Diane, David, Murray, Lynne, Jodie and the twins went to their house.
David also had the Marysville ambulance which had been taken to
Alexandra by other crew members and was still on call to assist. After
an hour or so David was called to attend some other incidents occurring
in Alexandra Township.

In his absence everyone else had been listening to the news that the
Alexandra was going to be under further ember attack. With the poor air
quality and fire risks it was decide this was not a safe place
(particularly for the twins) so we called other friends (lovely Kristen
& Max) at Tatong, near Benalla, a further 100kms away who said we were
most welcome at their place. Unaware of this David had made arrangements
for other Marysville ambulance officers to man the vehicle at the refuge
centers where they were staying.

At 1:30am on Sunday a very weary convoy of travelers arrived at Kristen
& Maxs'. After bedding down the twins we were fed, watered and tucked
into bed and collapsed till morning (another 1000 thanks). The morning
sun was an eerie red through the thick smoke at Tatong. Via phone calls
and the radio the enormity of the disaster and the loss of life of our
friends in Marysville was beginning to become evident.

Proinnsias and Mary were still in Melbourne and Jodie's partner was en
route by plane from QLD, when Mary's brother, offered the use of a
holiday house in Mt Martha that could accommodate us all (thank you John
& family). The Hume highway had been re-opened by then so we headed off
to Melbourne for a re-union and for Lynne to leave us and to be with her
family.

On Sunday afternoon, amidst many hugs and tears, Jodie was re-united
with her family and we were united with our daughter Claire & close
friends, Proinnsias & Mary. We had once again moved into luxurious
refugee accommodation (another 1000 thanks John & family). With many
mobile phones and a land line the thoughts of concerned family and
friends and offers of help began to inundate us. The love and concern
shown by all of you was overwhelming and humbling (everyone take a 1000
thanks).

At this stage everyone thought they had lost their houses and
possessions, as had many of our friends in Marysville. None of us felt
particularly sad about this loss, the gift of still being alive when so
many were dead or injured made such things seem paltry in comparison.

As Monday progressed more information came through from Marysville that
Diane & David's, Jodie & Leon's houses had survived more or less intact
but that Lynne, Proinnsias and Mary like many others would have no home
to go back to.

Jody, Leon and the twins and Diane, David, Claire and Murray got the all
clear to go home on Monday afternoon. Sadly by the time we reached
Healesville further fire outbreaks had closed the Maroondah Highway so
we had to turn around and head back to Mt. Martha.

Later that week our family moved down to another friend's holiday house
at Sorrento (thanks Cathy & her family) to be with other close friends
who were trapped in Marysville and spent the Saturday night on the footy
oval. The experiences they had been through made ours seem trivial in
comparison.

Over the following days contact was made with many of our Marysville
friends. We shared our stories and grieved for those injured or who had
lost their lives, those orphaned and those who lost their children.

By this stage the scale of the devastation had become known to the
world. We were unable to return home as the area was closed firstly as a
crime scene and secondly to make it safe for people to return (and the
fire is still going although many km's away).

On Sunday afternoon we finally drove home through 70-80km of
devastation. It is a bare and black vision of destroyed houses, burnt
road signs, fallen trees and dazed people standing, trying to work out
where to begin rebuilding their lives.

As we came nearer to home we saw a strange new landscape mixing the
familiar with the totally new. Houses are gone, there are new views
through once dense forest, all the surrounding hills are brown instead
of green, smoke hangs in the air and very few songbirds are singing.

As we drove up our driveway to the left the neighbour's house & sheds
(which he stayed and valiantly defended) has gone. Instead there is a
charred and collapsed mess.

Our front paddock is unburnt, but the back paddock is charred, trees are
down, fence posts burnt to below ground level. The fire has come to the
back of the sheds, the heat has curled the iron sheets off the wall.
There is ash in between the flyscreens and window glass. There are burnt
leaves lying in the bushes near the dining room. The reeds in the dam
are burnt to water level. Along the road the trees and road reserve are
burnt. And………. our house and sheds are as we left them!

We are constantly talking to the people who stayed put and to those who
are returning. Every person you meet has to be hugged and touched just
to make sure they are really still here. We are all overwhelmed by the
generosity of spirit being showered on our communities. Local halls are
filled with donated food, clothes and household supplies.

The towns may have been destroyed but the communities are still very
strong and surviving thanks to the help of you, our much larger community.

We will be in touch with you all very soon.

Much love to you all

Diane, David, Claire and Murray, Buster & Inka, (much loved dogs),
DaisyDuck, April, Missy, Cassie(3 cows) & chooks.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 01:51 AM

Rowan, thanks for the letter -

Joy sent me some pics from Marysville, including one of blade & handle of a what had been a spade, & another of a round hole that had been a fence post. I seem to have deleted her email (oops), so I'm not sure who took them.   

Maybe they were Mary's pics as a chook & duck were in one pic, feeding amongst green shoots.

I remember pics posted by Valda of similar green shoots in her blackened garden in Sydney's Blue Mountains after fires there a few years back.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 06:51 AM

Just about to send you this letter too, Sandra. Thanks Rowan. Amazing escape.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 12:59 AM

Thanks for posting the letter, Rowan. Still lots of tears here. I noticed there was a National Day of Mourning and that the flags will be lower to half mast on Feb 7th from now on. May all of those lost be well-remembered and those who survived continue to put one foot in front of the other with help from friends, family, and strangers from across the world. We are one with you, too.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 05:44 PM

It's not over yet - Bushfires - another week of dangerous fire conditions.

Towns on alert as bushfire threat rises see map -

Warburton Valley, Mallee and Enochs Point on flee alert


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 07:16 PM

Thank you Sandra. And thank you for the hugs by email.
Waiting to hear from my daughter who's just south of the fire front. There's a strong north wind but the weather is not so bad as before and the warning system is working well. She rang last night. Lots of families around her moving out. Her children go to school well down the valley in a safe area. She'll be alright, I'm sure, but I'll be anxious to hear from her tonight.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 11:25 PM

Yarra Valley awaits extreme bushfire conditions


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 12:46 AM

Its too early to tell how this will pan out but for those who understand Melbournes local geography, as I write there are currently reports of fire in Upwey in the Dandenongs just near Ferntree Gully outside of Melbourne. This is a heavily treed and heavily populated area with only narrow windy roads.

Talk back radio is reporting road closures and traffic jams and the tone of the calls so far is along the lines of panic rising with reports of smoke rising and Helicopters all over the place. As I write, pre school centres in Wellington rd are being evacuated and people are being stopped from travelling into the area.

Hopefully there wont be any major cause for panic and the anticipated wind change will not make things any worse and that there will be enough resources dedicated to nipping the whole thing in the bud. If not a real fire scenario defies thinking about.

I have rels at the foot of the mountain. Guess I'd better call them now.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 02:40 AM

Melbourne Local Radio coverage & articles


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:01 AM

School buses brought children home to Yarra Junction this afternoon and the road is still open. The main worry now for these residents is that the fire to the south-west will continue to head in their direction. My daughter says they are in the hole of a doughnut.
The fires in the Dandenongs look really bad.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 05:23 AM

Greetings from Upwey/ Upper Ferntree Gully, just in from ember watch and hosing the roof. The fire here is about 90 ha but so far only one house has been lost. There are 230 firies, 45 vehicles and helicopters trying to keep it at bay and stopping it from getting into the ranges. We are not in the fire path but it is snowing cold ash.
I came home early, I could see the smoke from the city and checked the location. The highway had seized in both directions, people trying to get home and people trying to get out and lots of road closures not helping. No fun for emergency services trying to get through.
And Friday will apparently be worse
If you want updates check cfa.vic.gov.au

Bill S from Melbourne


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 06:05 AM

cfa.vic.gov.au

I heard Ferntree Gully mentioned in the news, best wishes to you & your family & friends. ABC news sez. loss at Belgrave Heights was a shed not a house. Reporter was speaking to folks at Ferntree Gully.

About 2 hours ago I spoke to friends in Daylesford who were packed & ready to go.

sandra

Same news broadcast said NSW has heavy rain causing problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 11:13 AM

I wish I could find a way to send our latest dump of snow to your fire sites. A nice 8" blanket of snow would put out the fires for good.
Stay safe, all.
Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:51 PM

Snow would be lovely, Mary. Enjoying your vitual gift very much. Thank you.
Fire crews did a great job last night and nobody seems to be under threat at the moment. Hope that goes for you too, Bill, I think it does. Stay safe. Friday will be another worry.
The whole state is so dry. Never been this dry. Yesterday here about 10 drops of rain fell.
"Mercy drops 'round us are falling but for the showers we plead"
Using our water carefully while the tanks get lower and lower.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 03:53 PM

Oh dear! Still leaving letters out. Make that virtual.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:09 PM

The snow dump melted before I could get to it. Could you send another over please?

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM

DSE now suspect that the Upwey fire may have been caused by someone operating a slasher on a day of total fireban.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 05:43 PM

Mild weather helps bushfire fight

News reports said folks who left their homes are returning, so I expect I'll hear from my friends sometime today

Yesterday I heard a news article that some idiot was dropping butts to see what would happen - result fire & arrest!

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 11:57 PM

You'd think everyone would know by now what is meant by "Total Fire Ban". Perhaps it should be spelled out along with the warning on the weather report. Haven't seen that done in a while.

Last year a farmer out here lit a big bonfire the afternoon before a day of total fire ban. There were advance warnings about the danger and about the probability of a fire ban for the next day. There was no way that fire was going to go out for days. One of the rules relating to fire bans is that allowing a fire to burn is also an offence. Seems he'd not been aware of that. He reasoned that as long as he lit it before midnight he was within the law.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 03:17 AM

Upwey flared up again, there were 31 fire engines till three were destroyed in the fire. All the firies are ok, just minor burns. I didn't think the slasher was on a TFB though.
Daylesford was ok last I heard but I think a trip to the city will be the go for more than a few. Black Saturday has really shaken peoples idea that they can defend a house and are working out what really matters
We had a choir concert at Burrinja on Friday to raise dosh for the firies, it was closed today due to fire risk.
BS from UFTG/Upwey


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 03:29 AM

What, in this context, is a "slasher"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 04:40 AM

Richard, I'm guessing that it's an implement for clearing ground & I found a pic of one on a tractor sales site

Slashers are ideal for general farm use, cutting and clearing. They can also tidy up along fencelines, wall edges and roadsides and are good for creating firebreaks as well as being usable on rough terrain. They are the most frequently requested tractor implement in Australia and Sota Tractors carries both the AGMAX and Silvan brands in stock to suit both small and large acreages.
slasher


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 05:19 AM

Motor mowers are banned on total fire ban days. It's because of the danger of sparks from rocks. I believe slashers come under the same rules.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 04:05 PM

Of course this is not to be confused with that famous Australian expression: "Having a slash" which is an entirely different kettle of fish!

:-)


Cheers,

Andrez


PS: By the way ABC news reported the Red Cross Fire Appeal has now officially reached $190 Million and is still rising.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 05:51 PM

Bushfire threat eases but worse to come The seven bushfires still burning in Victoria are not threatening any townships this morning.
Firefighters have spent the night backburning and strengthening containment lines, as they prepare for more dangerous weather on Friday.

Bushfires


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 08:58 PM

The professional and volunteer firefighters must be absolutely exhausted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 10:39 PM

The usual stint is three days at 12 hours/day Operational and then a day's Stand Down. It DOES get exhausting and, for volunteers, the behaviour of employers like Fosters exacerbates the difficulties. The Defence Act prevents employers from disadvantaging Reservists but there is no similar legislated protection for volunteers in the SES or any of the fire services. And Howard's WorkChoices (George Orwell would be rolling in his grave at that particular New Speak) removed whatever little support volunteers might have been able to garner previously.

Sorry for the thread drift but the chief wally at my workplace has just been presented Certificates of Appreciation by both the SES and the RFS local units for supporting staff members who are such volunteers.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 07:47 AM

Race to control Vic blazes before Friday's scorcher

Fire danger causes school closures - South Australia

I hadn't realised that fires were in South Australia.

I'm heading to Bendigo, 1.5 hours north of Melbourne, on Sunday for a week, & we're hoping the weather won't be as hot as forecast. There were some fires in the Bendigo area a few weeks ago.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 04:32 PM

Sandra, The forecast we're getting for beyond Friday looks better. Cooler and they're talking showers. Bendigo lost several 150 year-old miner's cottages among others. People died there. It was started by a cigarette thrown into grass. Not that a grass and brush fire can't be dangerous and can't kill. Bendigo is safer than the towns in the forest though and there's more escape routes.
I hope your stay is a wonderful one. Please say hello to Bendigo for me. It's the city my family made their home when it was just tents and holes.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 06:19 PM

\/ Well, that doesn't look much like crossed fingers but - best wishes to get you safely past Friday...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 06:25 PM

What I love about Bendigo is the way it changed from tents to High Victorian architecture in a few years. I have several hundred pics of old Bendigo from my 2 visits last year. My friends were living in a decrepit old weatherboard cottage but are now renting a more modern place while waiting for the builders to finish relocating their new old house, a Federation house that was moved from a demolition site in Melbourne.

And my friends have one of those holes on their land - tho it was filled in years ago! I was fascinated by all the filled in holes around Bendigo & the graphic in the Museum showing the extent of the mines under Bendigo.

We're eagerly anticipating the cooler weather.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 07:52 PM

I was fascinated by all the filled in holes around Bendigo & the graphic in the Museum showing the extent of the mines under Bendigo.

When I was running Steiglitz (a school camp in the Brisbane Ranges, halfway between Geelong and Ballarat) I was very familiar with such holes in the ground; there were five within 100m of my fireplace. None connected with others, because of the nature of the seams on that field but I recall a mining geologist describing the Bendigo field as a comparison. He reckoned there was so much water in the now disused Bendigo mines that, if you installed the biggest water pump ever made and set it running, it would take a year to drop the water level under Bendigo by just one foot.

It made my little "Star of Hope" adits and shaft pale into insignificance.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 08:41 PM

The 150 year old miners must really be exhausted!

sorry, sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM

Thanks, Ebbie. It would do for a victory sign anyway.
A friend of mine used to visit his aunt who had one of those holes in her yard. In Ballarat. She built an outhouse -- Dunny to us -- around it. Scared the hell out of the kids using it.
Useful those holes.
Another friend often gets to rescue wildlife from way down in a hole after a bushfire has passed. There aren't any of those holes in the current bushfire areas sadly.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 10:18 PM

Has anybody shot an arsonist yet?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 04:25 PM

More NZ firefighters, some from WA and a swag from NSW arrived in Victoria yesterday and are deployed today.

Hold tight!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 04:28 PM

Friday is the day - good luck!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 04:45 PM

Calm so far. Out here in the West of the state it's still cool and still. Two grass fires burning to the south-east. They shouldn't be a problem.

The Yarra Valley, where my daughter is, is waiting and watching. So far no problem with the fire still burning to the north-east of them. Our main worry is a fire breaking out in a new area.

The fire in the national park of Wilson's Promontory isn't a problem in human terms, but it's a really serious one for wildlife and because of its unique flora. The whole Promontory will probably burn. The fire has jumped to nearby Snake Island. These fires jump water and kilometres of cleared ground making the idea of cleared areas around homes, in bushland, sound a bit simplistic.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 05:45 PM

(an armchair adventure tour of Wilson's Promontory on google images is highly recommended.)

good luck


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 06:24 PM

Following along and sending hugs and good thoughts of rain and dying embers turned cold to the touch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 07:02 PM

Thanks, heric and kat. The Prom is one of those truly magic places that everyone feels.
The barometer is dropping towards "change". Why do they never go so far as to say "rain" even when it does? Hot wind's increasing. Temperature is too. Just been filling bird bowls. Birds are not too stressed yet. I don't even think about how low the water is in the tanks. We've got plenty in the house tank.   
My little heat-stressed Ringtail is asleep in his hanging basket inside a cage. There's a doorway out now and he forages around the place all night. Brings home leaves and flowers to put into his covered basket. He's a free Possum again. Lucky (so many creatures in our care are named that) the Mudlark is due for release, but I'll wait until the weather settles.
Some things are so normal. Just collected a basket of tomatoes and we've got some apples that weren't baked on the tree.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 09:19 PM

Crews fight 4 major blazes as temperatures rise In the Yarra Valley, local, national and international firefighting crews from CFA, DSE, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, NSW Rural Fire Service, Tasmanian Fire Service, Western Australian DEC and Fire and Emergency Services, NSW National Parks and Wildlife, New Zealand, Canada and the USA have been deployed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: artbrooks
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 09:22 PM

And may they all get back out alive and well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 09:32 PM

3000 firefighters deployed to deal with 1100km of fire front when a cold front (hopefully also a cool change) is coming.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 01:48 AM

Victorian fires release huge amount of CO2 "With increasing concerns about rising CO2, rising temperatures and reduced rainfall in many of the forested areas, then we could well see much greater emissions from forest fires," Professor Adams, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Sydney university, said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 08:55 AM

Hot conditions to bring Tuesday fire danger

I'm off to Bendigo in a few hours (why am I on line & not packing or better still, sleeping?????) & have been looking at forecasts - better pack the brolly & raincoat & a jacket for nights. Mid-late 20's most days, except Tues 36 - it'll be better weather than the fire affected areas

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 04:28 PM

Everyone's hoping the fires are contained and under control before Tuesday; the forecast for Tuesday looks bad.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM

And it's not just the ongoing fires. It's the new ones. High winds and drought-stressed trees are a bad combination too.
It's very still and sunny. A perfect day if you don't think too much about the dryness all around.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:57 PM

Hot dry gusts up to 93 mph according to the news. I can't even imagine it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 01:07 AM

No we couldn't either until recently, heric. This time, at least, people in the most dangerous areas are ready. Thought we were all ready last time. Tonight many families will again move to safer places. Haven't heard what my daughter's doing but they've had lots of practice after weeks on alert. We're not in forest and we'll be home to tackle a grass fire if necessary. Lack of water will hamper us a bit but we'll survive alright. We've been told to prepare for power failures. Hope the roof stays on. This part of the world used to be such a peaceful place. We'll keep calm. Keep smiling.
Maybe in the dark.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:01 AM

Good thoughts for all of you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,sandra in bendigo
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:23 AM

we've been listening to the radio - damaging winds are expected all over the state, which might make it too dangerous to travel around touristing. there are no fires anywhere near us, nearest are at Daylesford (50-60km away) but the winds can cause damage anywhere - in fire areas & outside.

best wishes to your family, Joy

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:55 PM

Curiously I've been looking at the weather radar and there is a huge rain front starting to cross over Melbourne at the moment. It is raining over me right now. Mebbe it will help by dampening things down before the hotter Northerlies come in.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Tangledwood
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 03:34 PM

Take care all of you down south, I'll be thinking of you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 06:10 PM

We haven't got that rain. Just a bit of a sprinkle. However the first part of the front with the gale-force hot northerlies went by in the night without incident. Now it's calm again. Waiting for the change.
Oops! spoke too soon. The wind has picked up and it's still from the North and it's fierce. The change should be here soon. Maybe it will rain.
My daughter is staying at home. She's thought it out. The children have to stay too -- the school buses have been cancelled. They're keen to resume normal life and if that includes surviving a fire that's a bit less aggressive than Black Saturday's ones -- then they're ready.

Stay safe Sandra. It looks good for travel after tomorrow. Let me know if you are heading West at all. Maybe we could have a picnic together. In the rain!!! That would be something.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,sandra in bendigo
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 06:58 AM

today the winds arrived 12 hours late! around 2 instead of early hours of the morning. And we had a bit of rain a few hours later, & even a blackout - just long enought for Wayne to get th kero light lit! Then back came the electicity.

Today we shopped - we hit the op shops & a few craft shops. I also took a lot of photos, & tomorrows we head for the antique shops. Fun!

We also saw a burnt house, one of the 60 that were lost on Black Friday - I didn't linger & gawk, I learnt when young not to gawk at tragedies when we lived on a dangerous corner.

Tomorrow we hope to head out of Bendigo towards an area that has had fires, so might not get there, depending on the conditions. Unfortunately we aren't going west, Joy, maybe next visit?

More hugs to you & your family.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 04:20 PM

Thanks, Sandra. Hugs back. Have a lovely time. The fire areas all got good rain last night. All fires should be contained during the next week.
Sadly we go on with the long dry. Hardly any rain at all. But if that meant the rain was saved for the east of the state then that's the urgent need.
Thank you so much everyone. I can't tell you how much I needed to come here. Mudcat has been my refuge and my comfort. The hugs and the kind thoughts are so much appreciated. I passed them on to my daughters too.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 09:51 PM

I watched the video of the ABC show "After the Fire Storm" (did I remember that right?) last night.

It was interesting and gave some inkling of the impact of the fires on the human population, but basically ignored the wildlife. What is the reputation of the fellow who so vehemently endorses controlled burning?

People's attachment to living in the bush was very clear.   Just about everyone made clear they intend to stay and rebuild.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 09:52 PM

And here's hoping you get some rain, too, Joybell. When is your dry season supposed to end?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 11:33 PM

A great sigh of relief that this bullet seems to have passed you by. Now, for good soakers all 'round.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Donuel
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 12:00 AM

http://www.4bc.com.au/blogs/michael-smith-blog/gods-revenge/20090211-843r.html

story about pastors using the fires to get some political milage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 12:10 AM

We've got a grass fire on the eastern slope of Colorado which has grown to 6,500 acres. And, "the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for much of the area, signifying an extreme fire danger with gusty winds and warm temperatures."

It was weirdly warm today over there. We kind of expect it to get warm over here, but not even as high as they got..in the 80s F in some places and very windy and dry. Of course, the west is always dry, but it is too early for fire season!

Still keeping you all in my thoughts. Thanks for all of your sharing throughout.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:10 AM

Back again! I was incommunicado for a while so missed the turn of events. Glad you weren't molested by too much trouble Joybell; have a great hug anyway. If you drop into Daylesford, Sandra, you might check on the Spooner. One day I'll get there again myself, as I did a lot of walking around there; courting was a great lure.

Janie;
I watched the video of the ABC show "After the Fire Storm" (did I remember that right?) last night.

I cannot now remember the title of the half hour program the ABC broadcast about the 2003 Canberra fire (and about 6 months after it)so I'm not sure whether it's the one you refer to; the program about the Canberra fire is one I referred to in one of my earlier posts, where I described the public servant who saved his and his neighbours' houses with relatively simple gear but a lot of attitude.

It was interesting and gave some inkling of the impact of the fires on the human population, but basically ignored the wildlife. What is the reputation of the fellow who so vehemently endorses controlled burning?

The mainstream media have usually concentrated on destruction of property and loss of human life; even when describing loss of habitat and vegetation they have habitually used the term "destroyed". Regeneration is almost always a consequence in Oz (even if it takes a century or two to get back to a close resemblance or "original" vegetation; and, in a landscape where fire is almost certain (even a few centuries between events), what validity can be attributed to "original" as a term. "Incinerated" (to me) seems a much more evocatively accurate a term but it might be beyond the journalists' vocabulary.

Wildlife have only relatively recently featured in most people's understanding of 'consequence', and this has been largely due to wildlife rescuers and carers in organisations like WIRES and Wildlife Victoria. At last!

If the video you saw is the one I remember, the fellow who so vehemently endorses controlled burning is probably Phil Cheney. Phil is a seriously experienced researcher into fire behaviour and he is to be ignored at one's peril. I think I'm on safe ground, however, if I suggest that most of his research into fire behaviour in vegetation has been concentrated on those vegetation types where land managers (foresters and National Parks staff, in particular) have fuel management as their major concern and the main methodology requires "Prescription Burning".

[When such burning is done during a wildfire, to establish control lines and reduce the fuel available to the front or flank of a fire, prescription burning is usually termed "Back Burning; when it is done away from the context of a wildfire event it's usually termed "Controlled Burning" but the aim is the same. Most in the media don't understand the distinction and usually describe all burns set deliberately to control vegetation fuel as "Backburns".] End of little rave.

Much of the vegetation in the water catchment areas near Kinglake and Marysville are not susceptible to such management, as I described in another earlier post and this is the nub of the manager's problem. A lot of the material considered by the forthcoming Royal Commission will centre on how such vegetation can be or should be managed while preserving its character.

People's attachment to living in the bush was very clear.   Just about everyone made clear they intend to stay and rebuild.

Well, yes. And the fact that, after the Ash Wednesday fires (1983)and the Sydney/Blue Mountains fires (1994) they mostly rebuilt exact replicas of what had burned down exactly where the originals had burned down says much about how people "learn", even when the research (even by august parts of CSIRO) clearly advises town planners and architects otherwise.

Oz ought to have a bit of an advantage over the US in this regard, if what I observed at the 2003 Wildfire Conference in Sydney is true. San Francisco fires researchers indicated that householders there regarded the land manager of the property over their boundary as having the major duty of care to prevent fire escaping and damaging the householder; this allowed the householder to build a fire-vulnerable structure right to their boundary and assert (and litigate about)"damages" if a wildfire escaped and damaged them.

Oz planning legislation allows municipal councils to "manage" developments in areas vulnerable to flood/storm/fire/tempest/etc. The fact that most elected representatives on such councils are property developers who stand to make a quid out of flogging anything to anyone 'is neither here nor there'. You can bet your life the Royal Commission will be hearing about aspects of this as well.

Stay safe, Kat.
And never try to outrun even the smallest of fires by going upslope; across slope is better, and not even being there is definitely "the go".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM

With the rains yesterday and maybe more today, the Vic Govt has now declared the bushfire crisis officially over.

Thats not to say that all is now well for those who lost family members or properties and who are living in emergency accommodation etc, etc but at least folks can now get on with doing what they need to do without having too much concern that they are going to need to evacuate yet again or have to defend themselves from more fires.

With any luck there wont be too much bureaucratic wrangling involved in making the recovery process happen.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 05:19 PM

As to when our dry season is supposed to end -- well actually 13 years ago. It's looking like we can no longer call it a drought but a major change in weather patterns. Here in the Western District of Victoria it's supposed to rain a lot during Autumn, Winter and Spring. Then we're supposed to get occasional down-pours during Summer storms. Now we get dry storms in Summer and no Autumn rains. Spring is getting drier too. When you live outside the city you notice the effect on the plants and frogs, birds and insects. We're getting a bit of drizzle now -- enough for our food plants and maybe enough to save some of last-years revegetation efforts.

Yeasterday I received a form to apply for a grant to help in wildlife care relating to the fires. It's designed to help pay for everything from food etc. right up to lost shelters. I don't need it but it's good to see this help offered.
Yes, Kat stay safe.
Thank you for the hug Rowan. How are you doing? Please have a hug back.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 10:41 PM

Thanks Joy, I'm doing well and fine.
I just received this via the ausfolk list; Ozcatters in the area will enjoy it I'm sure. Dave and Di are two of the people whose activities during the Marysville fire were described in the letter I posted and Keith is the instigator of The Fanged Wombat series of poems and other publications.

Dear People

Bushfire Benefit Concert

A superb afternoon of music, song and poetry, including a performance of Ivan Smith's acclaimed international award-winning radio feature
Death of a Wombat
Sunday 22 March at 2pm, 121 Fenton Drive Harcourt North

featuring Dave Alleway and Diane Gaylard, Jim Smith, Andy Rigby & Polly Christie, Keith McKenry

Tickets: $15 (Children free)
Bookings: ph. 03- 5439 6525
All proceeds to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. Please support this undertaking, and pass on this message to your friends.

This delightful house concert will take place on our alpaca farm, on the North Harcourt Plateau, located less than 90 minutes' drive from central Melbourne, and under 30 minutes' drive from Castlemaine, Bengido and Maldon. If you need directions, give us a call.

Cheers
Keith and Jenny McKenry


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 11:55 PM

That sounds like it will be a very enjoyable afternoon.

No worries, Rowan and Joy, thanks, though. We live on the Western Slope of Colorado and, far away from any wildfire dangers, barring any neighbours' burning weeds getting out of hand. But, even then, the fire truck is just around the corner, so we're safe. We do have wildfires over here, but not as much concentration of human occupation in the areas where it is likely to happen.

Andrez, so glad to hear they think the worst is over!

Take care, all of you,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 01:16 AM

I keep hearing the word "fuel" knowing it's actually "food, shelter, life". Wildlife habitat can't be rebuilt as easily or as quickly as human homes.

"Death of a Wombat" was the reason I started planting native plants and began to understand their relationship to animals and birds and insects. It was over 40 years ago. I was invited to the home of the Elliots at about the time they were setting up their first nursery business. Long before they began writing books about native plants. We sat by an open fire in the dark and listened to this piece. After all these years the memory of it still has such a profound effect on me. I can't hear it again. It isn't in me to cope.
Hugs all 'round, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 07:55 PM

Apologies, Joy.
The activity of firefighting encourages one to think in terms of fuel because it's that attribute of vegetation that affects wildfire behaviour. And then my ecology background kicks in and I still think of the vegetation before I think of the fauna.
But you're right.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 04:44 AM

It's good to be back home, but it was also good to be in the bushfire area & reading all about it in the local Bendigo paper every day. It was a different perspective to reading about it as "news" in a distant place. Having friends & acquaintances in the area certainly made it more personal & less "news" - my friends were only a few km. from the Bendigo fires (but in no danger) & had friends & family in bushfire areas. They had their fire plan & we even listened to fire warnings on an old leather-covered transistor radio! I haven't seen an AWA radio for decades! My uncle used to work for Amalgamated Wireless Australia back in the 50s & 60s.

I arrived Sunday night & left Friday morning & each day the local paper had pages of bushfire coverage. As the week wore on & the weather changed (we had 3mm of rain in one 24 hour period! & my host got very wet dashing to the car while we were visiting an antique centre), warnings became less in the paper & on local radio, tho Bushfire relief fund-raising & people's experiences were constantly mentioned.

I tore out an article about the fires in Walhalla, scene of some of John Warner's songs. Des Micah and Flo Swan at the entrance of Walhalla's gold mine the shelter for the tiny Gippsland town's population during last month's fires.

The burnt house I saw in Bendigo was across a small laneway from a shopping centre of about 6 shops, one of which was closed because of smoke damage. The grassed area & trees around the shops were burnt & I took a pic of the grass & a dead tree, but not the house. The house was a heap of debris around a standing chimney, so was probably one of the older houses which were weatherboard with an external chimney. I didn't ask how many other houses were lost in that area, I'd never make a reporter!

As the big winds were weaker than expected the fires didn't flare up & we managed to travel around, doing our bit for the economy, by hitting as many antique & Op (charity) shops as we could in the time available. We visited the 15 Op shops in the area & the antique shops in several tourist towns (including Daylesford, where Danny & Gael Spooner had been evacuating when I spoke to them before I left Sydney, but I didn't contact them again when I was in the area.) We didn't visit the McKenry's either, tho I'd have loved to have seen their alpacas, nor did we visit other folkies in the area, we kept away from the areas that been burnt or were still in some danger.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 09:53 PM

No no Rowan, I don't mean from you. Sorry it looked like I did. I know where you stand. I was just feeling down. Guess I'll never get "Death of a Wombat" out of my head.
We're taking stock. No fires to deal with but the big dry means we have to re-think our planting plans. I'm looking at what has survived. Amazing -- but I haven't lost many local native trees at all -- even among the ones I planted last Spring. Middle and ground plants are another thing.
We just installed a wonderful waterless toilet. Onward and onward.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 04:52 AM

Its the survival and regrowth that is so encouraging. And it can be deceptive.

When a fire goes through stringybark forests with an intensity high enough to burn all the leaves and small twigs but not high enough to kill the tissues under the bark of the trunk and major branches, the scene may appear one of black and ashy devastation. A month later if there is any moistrue still stored in the soil or it has rained a bit) the epicormic buds under the bark sprout out like green fur all up the trunk and out along the branches. A year later and you have to know your ecology to be able to even tell there had been a fire, let alone get a handle on its characteristics.

The ash forests (sorry for the apparent pun but the common name for Eucalyptus regnans, the dominant species of such forests, is Mountain Ash, unless you're from Tasmania; there hangs a tale) like those of the areas around Kinglake and Marysville take longer to reach a stage where the innocent are unaware of an area having been fired (because the devastation is more visibly obvious straight after the event) but 30 years later you have to know your ecology even better to tell that it's a vegetation community with another century to pass in recovery mode.

Most Melbournians will have travelled up the Black Spur road from Healesville to Narbethong (and Marysville) so they can get to the ski fields or just drive through "pleasant bush". Many don't notice that the trees they are driving through on that road are not randomly spaced but are in serried and regular rows. [Or, at least they were; I haven't been down there this year.] They were planted after the 1939 fires to prevent catchment erosion and were thus an artificial environment. But precious few realised they were not "natural" and the vegetation community was "not the real thing".

But at least it now seems we're all at last in Recovery Phase.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: artbrooks
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 07:31 AM

FWIW, a man in California has just been convicted of five counts of first degree murder because of series of fires he started in the summer of 2006.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 05:17 PM

Rowan, Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. I noticed those rows of trees. Hadn't thought about it for 40 years. Seems I noticed those differences before I had any book learning on the subject.
Further to your comments about the longer recovery time in the forests of this area. I think I've heard that Eucalyptus regnans must re-grow from seed? Even for fast-growing trees seed to forest will be longer than the usual fuel-reduction burning allows. Science will prevail, though, won't it Rowan? Surely. Take care.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 09:27 PM

art, I was reading about the California man this morning. A man is in custody facing charges of setting one of the Victorian fires. He was moved to a jail outside the area where he was arrested.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 06:37 PM

Even for fast-growing trees seed to forest will be longer than the usual fuel-reduction burning allows.

Sometimes the management version of a fire regime is designed to prevent those trees that grow from seed becoming re-established. Sometimes it happens that vegetation that is regenerating from the seedbank in the soil and a fire burns the saplings before they've had a chance to set seed; the previous seedbank for susceptible species (those that "expect" a fire only rarely) has been exhausted. leaving the way open for others to take over.

This happened at Wilson's Promontory, where I was doing fieldwork for a thesis on plant succession in the 60s. We all knew that a fire had come from the north, across Mt Latrobe and down into Lilly Pilly Gully, in 1951; it was so severe that it had devastated the southernmost Warm Temperate Rainforest (the Lilly Pilly stand) in the world. What interested us was that part of the '51 fire's progress had overlapped with a previous fire's area.

The previous vegetation over this area had been mixed species tall Wet Sclerophyll Forest, dominated by Eucalyptus regnans and E. obliqua (commonly called messmate), with some Cool Temperate Rainforest species such as Nothofagus cunninghamii (Myrtle Beech) included in it. These species need at least 15 years' growth from seed before they can set seed and they were absent from the area where the two fires had overlapped; what had replaced them was Acacia verticillata (Prickly Moses) that was fearsomely thick and awful to try and get through.

So we figured that the previous fire was one of the 1939 fires that had caused the Black Friday devastation. Trouble was, all my research through local papers and other sources indicated that, while there had been fires in South Gippsland during January 1939, everyone was adamant that "the Prom was safe and had not had any fires that year.

I mulled over this conundrum for a while and mentioned it to a family friend (my father's family were all Korumburra people and Reuben had married into the extended family) and he came out with a story that I've told before on Mudcat but can't easily find to link to.

Most Victorians might be aware of the fact that the first six of the 10 Commando units used in WWII were trained at Wilson's Prom. The memorial at Tidal River was erected during my work there and I had "retrieved" a map labelled "Top Secret" and had discovered all sorts of military archaeology in my perambulations. Reuben told me that, after the commandos left, they were replaced by "the 2nd Medium Artillery Battery" (of which he was a member), and stationed at the foot of Mt Bishop; this area is marked by a huge granite slab as visitors arrive by road and is about a mile from the Tidal River beach area.

Their SOPs required them, if smoke was seen, they were to move all the materiel (supplies, ammunition, artillery pieces etc) down to the beach at Tidal River; if flames were seen, everything on the beach was to be bulldozed into the water and retrieved when the fire was out. Reuben said that they had seen smoke over the ranges to their north and were carrying ammunition down the road from Mt Bishop to the beach,

There was an armed guard across the only access to the Prom, at Darby River 20 miles away and the nearest civilians were at Fish Creek, 40 miles north. Carrying all the gear was hot work so they were dressed in nothing but boots and hats. During the operation they were visited by Colonel (later Brigadier General, Sir) Ivan McKay, who later became Governor of Victoria. Officers of that rank don't drive: they are driven. In this case, by a WAAC who, for mile, was privileged to see the pride of Australia's manhood, dressed in nothing but boots and hats, with their arms full of 25 pounder artillery shells.

Reuben was sure that such an event would have been recorded in the Unit Diary but occurred probably in January or February of 1943, explaining the invasion of Prickly Moses. I did try to find the Unit Diary but my headband and beard were rather frowned upon by the military during the late 60s. It was only a couple of years ago that I found out that Reuben's Unit was part of the same regiment I had been in and the period from 1940 to 1944 was the only gap in that Unit's Diaries held by the Australian War Memorial.

The real problem for management of this vegetation was that A. verticillata has a life expectancy of only about 30 years and is a fire promoter, setting a huge seedbank that can last at least a century. To allow reinvasion by the euclaypts from surrounding areas, the wattles would have to be protected from fire for at least 30 years after senescence, death and subsequent decay; it would take that long for the fuel to become wet enough to not sustain a fire except in drought conditions. Fire frequency increases with tourist frequency and Wilson's Prom National Park has always been in the top 3 or 5 National Parks in terms of visitation rates.

And most of the land managers, for whom fire became a preferred tool as a consequence of the late 60s, had little understanding of such details. When I attended the very first Bushfire Ecology Conference, in Adelaide in 1966, Alan MacArthur was using his WA experince and promoting the use of fire to reduce fuel loads and thus fire intensities; Every Forester from the eastern states was adamantly opposed and the Chief of the CFA (Brigadier Hay, as I recall), was vitriolic in his condemnation of such an approach. Tony Mount gave a paper on the fact that the three Tasmanian fire response services each had their own plumbing and none had any interconnectors; he suggested that this would lead to disaster. On 7th February 1967, Tasmania around Hobart was burned to a crisp, killing about 70 and scarring the nation's psyche.

After Rhys Jones published his Firestick Farming paper in 1969, nobody resisted the notion of fuel reduction by burning the vegetation; trouble was, they thought that the broad area burning approach used in WA was the best technique and it's taken quite a while for the pendulum to swing back.

So, yes, science will prevail, but it would be helpful if a bit of history counterbalanced some of the hysteria that gets mixed into the judgement of how the science is applied.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 03:43 AM

Amen to that.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 08:41 AM

Sorry if I missed it above but isn't there a plant or tree in Australia whose seeds only open in the heat of a fire? They require fire to germinate. I have seen films of it but can't recall the name.
Mary


Nice that we can be having these discussions rather than trying to find out who is where and still has a house.
Rowan, your knowledge of the area is astounding. Have you written a book? And if that is above and I missed it, I apologize once again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:58 PM

isn't there a plant or tree in Australia whose seeds only open in the heat of a fire? They require fire to germinate.

Greetings Sinsull,
I don't think there has been specific mention of this in this thread, so here goes.

It's not usually the seeds that open but the fruits, but that's probably just the pedantic botanist in me. Many Oz plants have woody fruits; some insulate the seeds within from short exposure to heat. Some eucalypts have capsules (the technical term for their fruits) that have pedicels (the technical term for the stalks attaching the capsules to the rest of the tree) that burn through in a flame, allowing the capsule to drop onto the ground where, perchance, the fire's heat passes over without the heat penetrating the capsule's insulation. Most eucalypt capsules open as a result of it drying out and this happens after the fire front has gone. Winds may break small branch tips off eucalypts and, if they're carrying fruits at the time, the capsules later dry out and release their seeds.

Some seeds of eucalypts and wattles (Acacias) have tiny little sweet bits on the end so that ants seek them out and carry them underground, where they are better protected from heat. Eucalypt seeds may eventually decompose in the soil's moisture or may germinate after a period but be unable to establish because of the dense shading of fully established vegetation. Most wattle seeds have a seriously protective coat that resists such decomposition for many decades and must be breached before the seeds can germinate. The usual method of breaching is the high temperature of a fire, which is why wattles can be the among first to appear after a fire. Mountain ash seeds might be slower off the mark but will outpace the wattles and quickly become taller than the wattles, gradually inhibiting the species that require full sun and allowing only those species that can tolerate shading to subsequently become established. That's the story behind the Prickly Moses at the Prom.

The eucalypts belong to the Myrtaceae family and others in this family (tea trees, paperbarks and bottlebrushes, eg) all have similar woody capsules that, to some extent, resist heat and release their seeds by drying out.

Probably the most spectacular of the other Oz plants with woody fruits are the Proteaceae family, particularly Banksias, Grevilleas and Hakeas. Their fruits (technically follicles) mostly will resist fire, which then starts a slow process by which the follicle gradually opens, releasing the seeds (two per follicle) onto a cool ash bed that has possibly already had some rain on it. These species specialise in growing on soils with low phosphorus content (too much, as in normal fertiliser) will kill them. Another group (and this is relatively new research) require their fruits to be exposed to wood smoke before their seeds can germinate; there is a chemical in the smoke that dissolves into part of the fruit and triggers germination. This may be widespread among Oz native plants; I only know that it affects Wax flowers (Eriostemon) species in particular.

And no, apart from my thesis I haven't written any books; it was an offputting experience. But getting others enthused about the things that enthuse me has been the story of my life, I suppose, so I've spent a lot of time teaching and this has led to various small bits of writing. And, in the case of this thread, I've come to suspect that concentrating on the material that I have posted has kept me "up" in the face of so much that could lead me "down". So I owe y'all some thanks.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 06:45 AM

Welcome to 97.1 ABC Kinglake Ranges This is a special radio & online station is part of the community's rebuilding and recovery process, broadcasting news and information to an area including Kinglake, Kinglake West and the surrounding towns of Dixon's Creek, Flowerdale and Strathewen.

Signs of life after Kinglake carnage - pic of new growth appearing on some of the trees burnt by the fires.

Helping to save 'Australia's story' - restoring damaged videos


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 08:30 AM

The interconnecting hose issue in Tas was mentioned above. In the huge Hawkesbury fires in the 90's, I was in SA and we sent a convoy of fire appliances to help. They were sent out to fires but found they couldn't connect to the hydrants, each state had a different system, so they wasted a lot of time scouring hardware stores.
I had a fire at work, we already had a hose set up from the hydrant and security sent a nozzle which wouldn't fit - SA nozzle on NSW hose! A small fire became a conflagration
I believe that the situation has been rectified but I can't confirm that. I hope so as we had fire equipment from other states here in Vic
BS from M


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 08:59 PM

It's raining at last. Can't remember the last real rain. Looks like we can relax a bit until next Summer. Just found out that our local grass-fire, on Black Saturday, -- first fire for the day, but quickly put out -- started from a burn a week before. Lucky that the area was checked on that morning and that the wind was mostly burning it back on burnt ground. A slight wind-change and it would have been off and running. Shows how even controlled burns can become untamed.
Cheers, Joy-wet-from-dancing-in-the-rain


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 06:09 PM

The last fire (at Wilson's Prom.) has at last been controlled; the rain helped. And now there is the worry that the rain might be too intense on the bare soil.

I can't comment (these days) on what Victorians and other places outside NSW use for hose connections. I know NSW uses Storz fittings (made famous as part of the fuelling lines for V2 rockets during WWII) because they're bisexual/hermaphroditic; either end can connect to any other of the same size. The NSW town brigades carried the biggest size (and a few of the medium size) while the RFS carried the larger of the two medium sizes and a lot of both of the small sizes, and NPWS carried the smaller of the medium sizes and mostly the two small sizes. Our brigade (RFS) made sure we carried interconnectors for everything, as well as the ability to break into polypipe lines of most sizes and still leave them "intact" after we'd gone; I kept banging on about the Tassie experience and was supported by the fact that the mother of one of our members had been a teacher trapped in a refuge on the Tasmanian coast in '67.

If you were there before '97, Bill, you arrived when every Shire council was its own separate Bushfire Service. That changed (as a result of the Coroner's report into the '94 fires) when the Rural Fire Service was formed from all the separate versions and welded into a cooperative entity. It took a few practice runs with seriously major events but I suspect there has been so much interstate cooperation that any truck that goes interstate gets as set of interconnections as they cross the border, so to speak.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 06:36 PM

Hope it is a good soaker, Joybell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 11:28 PM

Thanks, Janie. It is looking good for us here in the West. Maybe I can start planting for the year. Most of my local plants are hanging on. Time now to "hold the advantage" before the introduced grass revives.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:01 AM

GO! Joybell! Here's to a good soaking!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:14 AM

One of the thing I bought in Bendigo was an Akubra! My normal summer hat, a straw boater doesn't like rain & always needs to be put into a plastic bag for protection in et weather, so I've been wanting something more substantial for a while.

My new hat has been rained on a few times since I bought it, first time was in Bendigo when we had 3mm of rain!

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 05:32 PM

To help prepare the questions they will ask at the forthcoming Royal Commission, the Commission staff are conducting community forum sessions. The first was in Myrtleford yesterday.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 06:49 PM

Residents sceptical on bushfire royal commission, hearing told

Call for bushfire early warning system

Arson squad probes string of fires (10 fires in last 24 hours)

Bushfire risk to water quality 'could last years'

Californian church donates to Bendigo fire recovery

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country ...


DNA pinpoints firebug suspect two years on


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: heric
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 07:21 PM

oh my goodness S. Calif. wildfire arsonist just sentenced to death.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:01 PM

can you provide a link heric.

ta

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:44 PM

Just happened so very short summary in LA Times

A Riverside County jury today called for the death penalty in the trial of Raymond Lee Oyler, who was found guilty of arson and the murder of five firefighters for setting the deadly Esperanza fire.

The decision marks a rare case of an arsonist facing a death sentence.

The deadly wildfire was set early on the morning of Oct. 26, 2006, a few feet off of remote Esperanza Avenue in Cabazon. Investigators said Oyler, who once trained as a firefighter, had set fires throughout the San Gorgonio Pass in the months leading up to the blaze -- each time aiming for bigger infernos.

He chose a night when Santa Ana winds were blowing exceptionally hard. After making a device out of matches fastened with rubber bands around a Marlboro cigarette, prosecutors said, Oyler lit the cigarette and tossed the device into the brush. A fire was soon roaring up the San Jacinto Mountains, eventually reaching speeds of 40 mph and consuming 41,000 acres. Early the next morning, it rolled over the crew of U.S. Forest Service Engine 57 as they struggled to save a house in a steep canyon.

Capt. Mark Loutzenhiser, 43; Jess McLean, 27; Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20; and Jason McKay, 27, died immediately. Pablo Cerda, 24, died a few days later. Four of the five were based in Idyllwild.

-- David Kelly

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/03/the-riverside-c.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 18 Mar 09 - 09:45 PM

(Santa Ana winds are hot dry winds in from the desert every October, after the summer has dried everything out.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 05:41 AM

thanks for the information, heric


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 05:53 PM

And thank you for the links, Sandra.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 07:49 PM

heric, thanks for the info. I hope that arsonist didn't learn the cigarette burning thing from John Orr the guy I posted the same link about a few pages back.

From the article about Joseph Wambaugh's book about the case: At Ole's Home Center in South Pasadena, a small fire began in the vicinity of a potato chip bag, which Mr. Wambaugh describes as ''a sack of solid fuel.'' It was ignited by what would become this culprit's signature delay device: a cigarette burning down until it reached a pack of matches, with a sheet of yellow paper to enhance the flames.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM

Wambaugh was a cop in the LA region, and reputed to use a lot of personal experience in writing his books. The arsonist in question had some training in firefighting, also in the LA basin, so maybe it's a technique they all know about. . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 08:22 PM

I'm not sure of the merits of publicising such techniques but I suppose those who are committed would be able to find them out, anyway. The one described by kat has been around for quite some time; it was described at the first Bushfire Ecology Conference (Adelaide, 1966) I mentioned above, in the session that was closed to the press. The depiction of the technique's effects was the main reason why that session was so closed.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST,heric
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 08:26 PM

(oh I see the Wambaugh book in question was nonfiction. . . . )


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM

Thanks for the links, Sandra. It's to be expected that residents in the areas of the fires are angry but statements like,

"In previous times these royal commissions have been undertaken and put into a cupboard,"

are quite wrong. The studies undertaken after the Ash Wednesday fires have added to our knowledge in a huge way. The fact that the recent fires were much more severe just means that we need to add to that knowledge.

It's still hard to be "Green" at the moment even out here away from the scene of the worst fires.
Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:26 AM

In today's paper there is a photo of a single tree, a new bit of green in Marysville. Can't seem to get it to link but it's worth a look.
M


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 May 09 - 11:37 AM

latest about Marysville on News Radio site

I think I remember a similar pic somewhere on the news site - & think I mentioned it sometime in the fire period, found it! - or is it?, well, its a pic of an epicormic shoot (wazzat?) on a burnt tree 4 weeks after the fire. It's the first pic on this slideshow.

I can't find a pic of shoots on 2 local paper sites.

Mary - is this the pic? if not, what's your local paper's name?

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:48 PM

No. It was on line - one of those "The Week In Pictures" but from a newspaper. Total devastation and a tiny bright green tree. I will find it and figure a way to link it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:59 PM

Found it.
Open link
Go to browse in left hand column
Photos
The week in pictures
It is #17 or 18.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:50 PM

wow! there are some very interesting pics in that list - love the sand dunes.

info about Grass trees from an American site so you buy one if you want one.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:20 PM

Maine has frost from early October through May with an occasional Nor'easter and several feet of snow to tear the place apart. I don't think so...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 May 09 - 10:13 PM

Oh, Mary, that is a beautiful picture! There were some other really good ones on there, too. Thanks for the link.

We might actually be able to grow them here...it rarely gets lower than 20 above zero and there would no problem with it being well-drained and plenty of sunshine. Might have to look into that! Thanks that link, Sandra!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 May 09 - 03:09 AM

no worries, kat.

& my thanks to Mary for the link, I've bookmarked The Week in Pics URL

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 29 May 09 - 07:59 PM

video - Smoke haze from fires hanging over antarctica (May 28th) see Video section & scroll down


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 29 May 09 - 08:11 PM

story - Bushfire aftermath: smoke trapped over Antarctica

sandra

on a different note, check out the video of a huge, car-swallowing hole in a suburban Sydney street & park


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 29 May 09 - 09:34 PM

Sandra, thanks for posting those links.    Really brings home the reality that this planet really is one unified ecosystem.

Kat, I don't know anything about grasstrees, but feel obliged to offer a cautionary thought - has it been determined that they do not become invasive when moved out of their native habitat where there are natural controls?


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 30 May 09 - 03:21 AM

Janie, I doubt that grass trees (Xanthorrhoeas) would get out of control. They're very, very slow-growing. There are smaller ones without the trunk -- but they're slow too. However we do need to consider such things, don't we? Also we have to be concerned about illegal removal of them as they become fashionable. A hundred years is a long time to grow them to maturity from seed.

Sandra! I was hoping you were safe at home when that hole appeared.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 May 09 - 01:32 AM

Joy, I very occasionally travel to Bondi Junction in a (slow) bus that wanders around a few suburbs to make what is a 10 minutes trip in the express bus! But I used to have a friend who lived up the road & often walked past that park

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Joybell
Date: 31 May 09 - 01:37 AM

OOOOOOh Sandra. Stay away from land-slides.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 31 May 09 - 06:57 PM

The Royal Commission into the conduct of the response to the fires still has a long way to go but, so far, the evidence from participants suggests a complete breakdown in communications and coordination at almost every level; the awesomeness of the predictions (as well as the fact that almost all fire behaviour variables were well off their various scales, meaning the various fires' behaviours were essentially unpredictable) was not fully realised nor properly communicated, radio systems were separated between agencies and urban and rural areas of particular agencies, vital messages were not communicated until after their window of effectiveness had passed.

These are just some of the conclusions available from basic news reports of the Commission's proceedings.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 06:43 PM

For those of you who remember the truly remarkable photo of the firefighter giving a thirsting koala a drink from his water bottle (there was a link to it earlier in the thread but so far up I haven't found it) the sad news from Friday last is that Sam (the name given to the koala when taken into recovery care) died on the operating table in an attempt to remove painful cysts associated with a sever case of chlamydia. [Chlamydia is an infectious pestilence that has affected large numbers of koalas in several populations across Oz in recent times, and not for reasons that might occur to smutty minds.]

Sam's remains will be mounted taxidermically and used in a Victorian museum display that deals with raising consciousness about affects of human activity on the landscape.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 06:54 PM

Sam the bushfire koala dies


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM

Thanks, Rowan, for letting us know, and thanks, Sandra, for the link.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:52 AM

Just a small point of clarification or pedantry as the case may be but Sam, contrary to popular belief, was female not male as implied by the name.

May she rest in peace!

:-)

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 07:47 PM

Poor little Sam....the thought of her taxidermied furry corpse seems very sad.

Cheers (sniff)
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 02 Sep 09 - 04:19 AM

Euphemisms, spin and the Bushfires Royal Commission

an interesting par -

The focus of the measures put in place by the Victorian Government in the days after the commissioners released their interim recommendations was an announcement of 52 towns at particular risk of bushfire this summer - and the declaration of a "bushfire preparedness" week in October.

As the summer 09/10 fire season has already started it might be a bit late.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 12:53 PM

Sydney is now a dust bowl. Can the plague of locust be far behind?
How are you all?
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:08 PM

Sydney yesterday

I woke at 8 to a very yellow world - unfortunately by the time I went out after showering & washing my hair it was merely creamy white. I walked along the streets I use when I have my evening walk & took photos in the usual places - I'm about half a km from the CBD & love the views of the city skylines. A few structures could be almost seen thru the dust - others like the Harbour Bridge were totally invisible.

6 photos in Scenery album along with pics without dust!

Yesterday lots of folk were holding scarves over their mouths, others wore masks, my eyes were watering by the time I came back from my 30 min walk. Fortunately I have eye drops I use when my eyes get sore, but I bet lots of folks had to buy drops. Asthmatics were warned to stay indoors with windows closed & medications close at hand.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:19 PM

News Radio user submitted photos - Sydney & other areas

more user submitted photos - from Sydney local radio listeners

I had intended to submit some of my pics, but time got away.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 08:22 PM

Dust storm 'started 12 months ago'


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 10:45 PM

Thanks for all of the links. I learn a lot from what you Oz'landers post about the environmental happenings and events on the other side of the world.

I hope this fire season is much less horrific than the last.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 05:39 AM

Just in case people around the world actually feel too sorry for Sydney siders just because they got a little dusty, you have to know that this is the town that generated the following gem sometime recently:

Dodgy Humor: Click entirely at own risk!

Now if you've been brave enough to check the link out, I ask you doesnt this kind of show make the entire town and everyone who laughed, a candidate for plagues of locusts, pestilence, dry rot eternal damnation and any other conceivable plague? I mean they even throw the football behind them when running towards their goal instead of kicking it toward the goal! What kind of a town does that?

I rest my case M'lud

:-D

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: SINSULL
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:07 AM

OMG Andrez. That is hysterical.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 12:58 PM

Mopping spit coffee from the keyboard!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 03:59 PM

snork... so great.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 04:00 PM

ooops! got so side tracked by Andrez' vignette, I forgot to send good wishes to Sandra.

How's it going? Keeping your crafts clean I hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 01:25 AM

Living in rural Oz I miss out on such radio programs. But I've just returned from Alice Springs, where I celebrated a friend's significant birthday at the Araluen Homestead; she was the Director there for a while.

No dust and not even wind until I left Coober Pedy but it was a 60kph beauty all the way south; fortunately a tailwind. But no dust until Glendambo, which is upwind of Lake Eyre, where various people reckon Sydney's dust came from; once again, Glendambo provided rain in the middle of its dust storm.

The tailwind kept up 'til I got to Port Augusta, where it started to rain and filled up Adelaide's dams; the rain lasted 'til I got to Yunta but the wind kept up. Still, no dust. Stayed overnight at Mannahill (now, there's an experience) wondering if we'd still have a roof in the morning. Lots of wind but no dust, not even in Broken Hill. In fact, the place was sparkling, showing no sign that the visibility during the previous afternoon had been down to about 10 metres. All the road trains and semi trailers had stopped, as visibility was so bad and even new trucks had sand penetrating seals.

No dust until Wilcannia, where the landscape was shifting across the road; all the sheep and feral goats had stripped the vegetation so that te wind could just blow it away. The tailwind lasted all the way home (New England) but the only evidence of dust was the colour of oncoming vehicles. Today the carwash places are doing a roaring trade.

All the best, Sandra.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 03:34 AM

thanks for your good wishes, Tam, the only visible dust in my place has been here for so long I don't want to disturb it.

Big red hits NZ as dust storm crosses Tasman

Truckloads of dust ripped from barren land

Janie, Summer 2009/2010 fire season has started early & will probably not be minor as rains are down.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 02:12 PM

Much of these unfortunate tragedies are at the expense of the denial of global warming.
The desertification of the world is a major byproduct of this denial. We will see more
burnings and ecological disasters until this issue is recognized and acted upon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Tangledwood
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 08:20 PM

Lots of wind but no dust, not even in Broken Hill. In fact, the place was sparkling,

Literally, probably - there is such a high metal content, silver, lead and zinc, in the dust which comes of the skimp dumps. I lived there for a few years in the '70s.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 12:03 AM

Thanks for the links on the current fire season.

I hear you Frank. I find myself wondering - how long will the water last. Without much knowledge to back up my thoughts and intuition, I can't help but think of Australia and the American West, among other places, as canaries in the coal mine.

The capacity for denial by our species is phenomenal. (Of course, we may the only species with a sufficient capacity for foresight to have developed the psychological defence of denial.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Janie
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 08:30 PM

I see that there is extremely high risk of bushfires in parts of Australia in the last day or so.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/6492006/catastrophic-fire-warning-for-nsw/

Hope people take the warnings seriously and err on the side of safety - and then hope it was all for naught!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 03:28 AM

Teens front court over Black Saturday fire Two teenagers charged over the devastating Bendigo Black Saturday fire that killed a man have been granted bail in a Victorian children's court.

This morning a 15-year-old and 14-year-old boy were arrested by Taskforce Phoenix detectives.

Both are charged with arson causing death for allegedly lighting a fire in a dry creek bed at Maiden Gully, near Bendigo, on the afternoon of Black Saturday.

The court heard the fire quickly spread south-east and claimed the life of Kevin Michael Cane.

Police allege the Maiden Gully fire caused in excess of $23 million damage to private property and Crown land.

The magistrate ordered that the court be closed to the media and the public due to the nature of the charges, the defendants' age and the need to minimise any stigma.

The magistrate granted the boys bail, subject to strict conditions, including that they obey a curfew and do not attend bushlands.

It is nearly a year since the fire which killed Mr Cane and destroyed 58 homes.


Black Saturday memorials renew grief



Explore the events and stories from the Black Saturday bushfires.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Rowan
Date: 02 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM

And, according to the latest news, the Victorian govt is squirming under the prospect of damning recommendations from the Royal Commission. For the benefit of US people, a Royal Commission is similar to a Senate Select Committee.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Feb 10 - 04:59 AM

Artists inspired by Black Saturday fires


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:13 AM

10 years after the Black Saturday fires but 10 years of silence doesn't mean we haven't had any bushfires.

Our fire season is getting longer & the fires stronger, yet our Prime Minister does not believe there is a problem, we don't need to hire US Air cranes etc in the off season, we can do it all on our own! However the Northern hemisphere fire seasons are getting longer too, so authorities are using their resources for a longer period, so couldn't lend them anyway & we don't have enough to do it on our own.

National situation - the government believes in coal! not climate change. “Not today”? When fire-struck communities start talking about climate politicians must listen

This is the situation in my state - Fires rage as Berejiklian ignores advice and decimates what's left and Fire and Rescue NSW budget cuts which have led to closures of fire stations.

Closest fires to me are 20km (12 miles) across the other side of the harbour, & 100km (60 miles) to the west in the Blue Mountains.

map of fires across bushfire live blog

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 05:15 AM

Closest fire to me is about 20 minutes north. The highway is closed. That's a bit close for comfort.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 09:54 AM

Stay safe both of you we will be thinking of you


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: keberoxu
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 02:19 PM

The more things change, the more they stay the same ...
and the news is not good.
Thanks, though, for letting us know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: rich-joy
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 07:50 PM

A welcome wind change is all that has stood between my Bro at Warrell Creek directly experiencing the Bushfires. He and his son have stayed to try and protect the house and animals and outbuildings.

Of course, another wind change can easily alter all that again.

And a welcome wind change for one area can mean destruction and heartbreak for others ......

R-J


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 06:21 AM

fingers cross, rich-joy.

latest fire info for NSW but there are also major fires in 2 other states, Queensland & Western Australia

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Hrothgar
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 07:02 AM

"Idyllic bushland setting" = firetrap.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Nov 19 - 05:33 PM

yes!

A cauldron of extreme heat developing in Western Australia is heading straight for the east coast bushfire zone. A build-up of intense heat that will see temperatures in WA soar into the mid 40s this weekend will be dragged across the country next week, right into parts of New South Wales and Queensland devastated by bushfires this week. (read on)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Nov 19 - 01:18 AM

Emergency warning issued for fast-moving fire at Gosper's Mountain north west of Sydney metropolitan area, around 100km from Sydney CBD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 16 Nov 19 - 02:28 AM

Living in East Gippsland now. All quiet down here on the fire front so far but the drought is doing its bit to get things tinder dry and ready to go up in a wink if the conditions are right.

Just driven up and down into the high plains today lots of green but plenty of brown in the paddocks and bush. Maybe we should reconsider building that wall to keep any stray northerners from escaping and spreading the fire 'bug' down south. Touch wood!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 16 Nov 19 - 07:06 AM

A bloke from Ebor, N.S.W., has been charged with deliberately lighting a fire. Seems he lit it so he could backburn around his cannabis crop, and it got away and did a lot of damage. Ebor is north-east from here, in more hilly country.

High country in more ways than one.......

While we don't wish to make light of people deliberately lighting fires, we can't help but see a little humour in this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Helen
Date: 18 Nov 19 - 09:20 PM

Luckily, we are not in a bushfire prone area although we are in an idiot-prone area because the family across the road from us like lighting a fire in their backyard now and then. They get annoyed when any of their neighbours dob them in to the fire brigade, too.

On a musical note, I saw this article:
Harp therapist soothes anxious horses at NSW bushfire evacuation centre

I remember back in late Dec 2002 to Jan 2003 Hubby & I were on a trip down south in Victoria and then Tasmania. We included some folk festivals in our itinerary which was lovely but unfortunately it seemed that wherever we had just left there was a bushfire. It was another terrible bushfire time in those couple of months. I looked at the map of the fires and almost all of the east coast and Tassie were affected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 Nov 19 - 07:02 PM

Digital Earth Australia Hotspots is a national bushfire monitoring system that provides timely information about hotspots to emergency service managers across Australia. The mapping system allows users to identify fire locations with a potential risk to communities and property.

Currently we have fires in all states, tho some state's fires are more severe than others. The highest fire warning level in NSW & SA is Catastrophic & in Victoria it's Red.

Sydney smoke 'unlikely to clear for days' as bushfires burn around NSW Sydneysiders have been warned the thick smoke haze covering the city will remain for days, as the air quality plummeted to "hazardous" levels for the second time this week. The Harbour City's landmarks were barely visible as smoke from dozens of bushfires burning in NSW settled over Sydney, the Illawarra, North Coast and Central Coast

Meanwhile south of the border - Victoria issues code red bushfire warning as Melbourne weather heats up After coming within 0.2 degrees of its hottest November night on record, Melbourne's temperatures are soaring while parts of Victoria prepare for a day of catastrophic fire risk. A code red fire danger day has been declared in Victoria for the first time in almost a decade, as emergency services warn people in the Northern Country and Mallee regions to consider evacuating their homes amid worsening fire conditions.

SA bushfire destroys homes as Yorketown fire burns out of control A bushfire burning out of control in South Australia's Lower Yorke Peninsula has been downgraded to a 'watch and act' message. The fire started during Wednesday's catastrophic fire conditions and broke through containment lines early this morning.

Queensland fires


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 21 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM

fires in NSW - Smoke affecting large parts of NSW

What has the bushfire crisis cost so far?

Bushfire smoke can get into hail and even go from vine to wine Yearning for a cool drink, Joh Timmers popped a piece of hail into his drink after a thunderstorm at Wivenhoe Dam recently. But he soon noticed an odd taste.
"I could taste the smoke in it … we tried another and it was the same, it was subtle, but you could taste it," he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"The hail didn't look any different to other hail and it wasn't discoloured at all." (read on)

You can be quite a long way from a bushfire and still have it affect your health

Koala hospital's GoFundMe campaign raises more than $1m

Meet Bear, the koala detection dog looking for traces of koalas in burnt areas


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 Dec 19 - 09:22 AM

Digital Earth Australia Hotspots is a national bushfire monitoring system that provides timely information about hotspots to emergency service managers across Australia. The mapping system allows users to identify fire locations with a potential risk to communities and property.

The hot spot above Canberra has forced my friends to evacuate -
Residents urged to evacuate as South Coast fire burns out of control They live in the small coastal town of Bawley Point, one of the small towns that have evacuated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Helen
Date: 03 Dec 19 - 02:33 PM

Sandra, that's a good article about the smoky tasting hail and smoke affected grapes and wine. Wine with a taste of burnt rubber - not to everyone's taste.

Normally around Christmas time, Hubby gets the smoker out and smokes chickens, ham and trout but I said to him that he probably won't need to do it this time because they'll be smoky enough already. Instead of the "triple smoked ham" being advertised in the shops, it will be quadruple smoked.

(Apologies to vegos and vegans, but smoked ham, chicken and trout are triple-yum!)

It has been very smoky here in the Hunter Valley. Hubby hasn't had to use his asthma inhaler for years until this bushfire year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Dec 19 - 02:52 PM

Here in the states the news has picked up on the Koalas plight but downplayed the 'Normal' bushfires. Even npr has warned against over reaction. Or at least that was my take.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Dec 19 - 01:13 AM

Our bushfire season has started earlier, fires are more intense, drought has affected fire fighting & the season lasts longer.

Bawley Point news My friends evacuated early as they are over 80, very fit, young looking octogenarians, but still over 80. Latest email - All are okay here; nice and safe and the wind seems to have moved favourable.

Long Beach, another affected village 30 mins south of Bawley Point Long Beach locals told “Fill your bath tub, fill your wheelie bins with water”

NSW Rural Fire Service - Shoalhaven - facebook


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Dec 19 - 09:08 AM

latest from my friends - It looks like all the houses in Bawley have been saved.

over100 bushfires were burning in NSW on Friday, more than half out of control

NSW fires LIVE updates What we know so far
    More than 680 homes have been lost so far this fire season
    At its peak on Friday, nine fires were burning at an emergency level. That has dropped to four, with 14 at 'watch and act.'
    Specialist firefighters from the US and Canada will help locals fight the blazes

video-Firefighters battle blaze at Bawley Point (thursday)

bushfires have combined to create 60km 'mega fire' north of Sydney ... There were seven emergency warning-level fires blazing across the state at 7:00pm on Friday, but they had all been downgraded to watch and act or lower by 11:15pm. ...

sandra (1.00am Sydney time, Sat morning 96 fires are burning across NSW, none at emergency level. Embers are still a risk.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Jim Martin
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 12:24 AM

Great to see US/Canada helping out!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 04:01 AM

As well as US & Canadian firefighters we even have NZ firefighters here.

In the off season Northern & Southern Hemisphere firefighters go overseas to help local services. As fire seasons overlap in Aus & California, sharing firefighting resources will only get harder

Since 2001/02 fire season Australian authorities have hired Erickson S-64 Air-Cranes from US

Latest report, 2 hours ago. NSW 'mega-fire' is on Sydney's doorstep "Worst ever" and "unprecedented" have become the new norm this bushfire season, but when a blaze grows to the size of Sydney a new standard of overwhelming is set and firefighting becomes a logistical headache. Five blazes merged north of Sydney yesterday and the term "mega-fire" reared its ugly head. The 60-kilometre fire front continues to consume areas west of Gosford, including Colo Heights, Wollangambe, Mellong, Wollemi and Big Yengo ... Basically, it could get better just to get worse, and it is anyone's guess when this fire stops growing. That's bad news for those on the Central Coast and in Sydney who are being choked by smoke from these blazes.

sandra in smoky sydney


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 12:29 PM

The coverage I've seen of Sydney looks just horrifying.

And the forecasts suggest it's going to get MUCH worse in the next couple of months.

And you have a PM whose idea of an appropriate statement is a TV broadcast of his home Christmas tree. Makes Boris Johnson look useful.

Is your media still giving airtime to that fuckwit who says the gays are responsible?

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bruce D
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 05:45 PM

These Bushfires are not unusual in Australia.

this thread started in 2009 because of a similar bushfire season, we another bad year in 2012 along with other bad bushfire seasons before and after those.

One of the worst bushfire seasons in my living memory was in 1994, where Sydney was completely surounded by Bushfires and all major highways except for one was cut, along with bushfires within Sydney itself. Along with much of the NSW mountain and coastal regions. I spent a couple of days fighting one of the major fires in the south of the city. Luckily there was only a few lives lost and the number of homes destroyed limited.

I'm reliable told that Australia's worst Bushfires were in 1938/9 where nearly all of Eastern Victoria was burn along with parts of NSW and South Australia, 100's of towns and farms were destoryed.

The reason we are having such a bad fire season is due to a few causes, the primary is a extended drought, large amounts of dry undergrouth, lack of fuel reduction burns, a dryer east coast (there was snow falling in the Australian Alps last week), weather patterns in the off Antarctica, (that causing both Australia's and Africa's droughts) along with a weak weather patten in the Pacific.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bruce D
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 05:55 PM

And Sandra, I'll disagree with you.

The Australian Federal Government has its hands tied, Bushfire's and the response to them are a matter for each State Governments, unless they call a state of emergency and ask for federal assistance, then our PM isn't allowed to deploy our military to assist, or he can do is offer money for aid to the victims (only after getting the bills passed through those smug labor and cross benchers).

The other thing to remember is that our military only has a few trained fire fighters, most of those are in the Navy. One of the worst thing you can do is put untrained people into a high risk envirnoment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 05:58 PM

Look up "Indian Ocean Dipole".

The mechanism is well understood and the news is not good. No this is not just the same as before.

The other end of the IOD has the potential to be even more destructive - there are currently five tropical storms in the Indian Ocean, most of them likely to hit Africa, which has never experienced anything like that in recorded history. Africa is getting all the rain Australia isn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Dec 19 - 11:42 PM

Today has been very smoky - we are 5-6 hours drive north-west from Sydney, with fires between us and the coast. Depending on wind direction we can have clear days (the last few days have been clear, thank goodness) or smoky, or very smoky. Today is very smoky, and the air quality is regarded as "hazardous".

The one saving grace is that, at present, there aren't any fires too near.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Andrez
Date: 08 Dec 19 - 05:35 AM

We've just opened a chicken evacuation centre for our friends at Tambo Crossing. The 9 little ones needing care will be arriving tomorrow morning along with their carer. The worry is a fire to the west of their property being driven eastwards as we speak.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Dec 19 - 09:31 AM

'Smells like it's time to go to work': American firefighters arrive in Sydney

I was wrong earlier, I thought Americans firefighters had been here in the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 08 Dec 19 - 04:58 PM

Re Jack's comment of a couple of days ago about media coverage of the fires:

Remember, the media will always go for the dramatic "flames reaching for the sky" photos - not the photos showing ordinary people going about their daily business. Yes, there are a lot of fires right now after an early start to the annual - remember that word, annual - fire season. This year is a bad year, exacerbated by the ongoing drought.

Australia has millions upon millions of eucalyptus trees, and they burn. Nature designed them to burn; the leaves don't break down in mulch, they are full of oil. Distilling eucalyptus oil is an industry which has been going on for many years. These trees can erupt in flame - there's that wonderful photo opportunity! Once the flames are out many of those trees prepare to regenerate, which they do at the first sign of rain.

Seeds of other Aussie plant species, banksias for one, need the heat of fire to break open hard woody pods to release the seeds inside.

In recent years fires in California have been very bad. Some time ago someone decided that, as parts of California and parts of Australia have similar climates, eucalyptus trees could also grow well in California! Well - guess what?

I'll get off me soap box now and have brekky.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 10 Dec 19 - 07:20 AM

Australia Burns Again, and Now Its Biggest City Is Choking - New York Times

Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejects calls for more bushfire help, saying volunteer firefighters 'want to be there' The prime minister disagrees the federal government could do more as ‘nationally coordinated effort’ is in place
The prime minister has rejected calls for more help for firefighters as the New South Wales bushfire crisis is expected to worsen.

There were 85 fires burning across NSW on Tuesday, and 42 were uncontrolled. With predictions of temperatures surpassing 40C and a wind change for the afternoon, firefighters expected conditions to deteriorate.

About 2,700 firefighters are in the field, many from volunteer NSW Rural Fire Service brigades.

As smoke brought the city’s air quality to more than 11 times the hazardous level, Scott Morrison spoke in Sydney about the religious discrimination bill.
Asked about concerns over how long the tens of thousands of volunteer firefighters – many who have been away from work for weeks now – were expected to continue without pay, Morrison said they “want to be there”.

“These fires have been going on for some months now and when I was speaking with the commissioner on the weekend out where we have the megafire at the moment we were talking through the crew rotations,” he said.

“And the fact is these crews, yes, they’re tired, but they also want to be out there defending their communities. And so we do all we can to rotate the shifts to give them those breaks but … in many cases you’ve got to hold them back to make sure they get that rest. And I thank them all for what they’re doing, particularly all those who support them.”

He rejected suggestions that volunteer firefighters – who reportedly make up the largest volunteer firefighting force in the world – should be professionalised

“The volunteer effort is a big part of our natural disaster response and it is a big part of how Australia has always dealt with these issues,” Morrison said.

“We are constantly looking at ways to better facilitate the volunteer effort, but to professionalise that at that scale is not a matter that has previously been accepted and it’s not currently under consideration by the government.”

There are reports of RFS brigades crowdfunding or seeking donations for water and food for those in the field.

Read on if you feel so inclined. I was listening to a volunteer today, who had put in a 10 hour overnight shift fighting fires (not his first such shift), had 2 hours sleep then went to his office, he's a small businessman & needs his income.

The Bawley Point Rural Fire Brigade & another village brigade (Kiola) set up a crowd funding page wanting $5000 & got $45,000.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Dec 19 - 08:26 PM

Post by wife of a volunteer goes viral - This post has now had more than 80,000 views.

Open letter by firefighter to Prime Minister in Murdoch paper

Govt responds to calls for more water bombers with $11m for aerial firefighting Funding injection to National Aerial Firefighting Centre comes days after Morrison rejected calls for more help for firefighters


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: Bruce D
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 04:49 AM

........" 'Smells like it's time to go to work': American firefighters arrive in Sydney

I was wrong earlier, I thought Americans firefighters had been here in the past. "...........


There is a regular exchange program between USA and the various Australian States, for firefighers to assist each other country in times of extreme fire. The first time I heard of American firefighters was for the 1994 NSW fires. At the monment I believe there firefighters from New Zealand, USA as well possibly Greece and Spain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bushfires in Australia - Feb 2009
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Dec 19 - 05:04 AM

Canadians too, Bruce - they have come here, and our fire fighters have also gone over there.


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